WHO sends two million doses of measles vaccine to Pakistan

A shipment of two million doses of measles vaccine procured by the World Health Organization recently arrived in Pakistan.

A second shipment of 1.1 million doses of vaccine is expected to arrive soon, according to TheNews.com.pk. Pakistan received a pledge of 3.1 million doses of the vaccine by the WHO last month after an appeal from the Pakistani ministry of health, who feared running out of supply entirely.

The WHO made a special arrangement for the vaccine through its Expanded Program on Immunization. The EPI will be able to continue its vaccination program uninterrupted in Pakistan for at least the next three months with the additional supply. It is estimated that a one month interruption could lead to an additional 400,000 cases of the measles, of which 1,000 to 4,000 could be fatal.

“The WHO has extended this support only to avoid the impending crisis of measles vaccine, which could cause further havoc on the already crippling immunization program, resulting in deaths and diseases of hundreds of thousands children,” according to a WHO press release.

The WHO recently shared its concern over the EPI’s procurement policy in Pakistan, suggesting it remain centralized in consideration to the varying degree of capacity at the provincial level to provide uniform safety and quality.

“We believe the Ministry of Health is fully aware of the danger of interruption in routine immunization services. Whatever process for vaccine procurement is adopted after devolution, all necessary measures are to be taken on time for ensuring procurement of all routine vaccines for the next fiscal year,” Dr. Guido Sabatinelli, a WHO representative, said, according to TheNews.com.pk.