Children in Philippines receive vaccines against polio, measles

More than 30,000 children are being targeted as part of a vaccination campaign in Tacloban, Philippines, the city hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan, the World Health Organization recently announced.

The government of the Philippines, WHO and the U.N. Children's Fund joined with other partners to vaccinate children against polio and measles. The vaccination drive, which is targeting children under the age of five in all the typhoon-affected areas, will also provide vitamin A supplements and screen children for malnutrition.

"The children of Tacloban need all the protection they can get right now," Angela Kearney, the UNICEF coordinator for the emergency response in Tacloban, said. "Disease is a silent predator, but we know how to prevent it and we will do everything that we can."

UNICEF bought more than $2 million worth of vaccines to replenish in-country stocks being used for the campaign. WHO and UNICEF are also helping the country to re-establish its broken cold chain, which is used to keep vaccines at the proper temperature.

"WHO and UNICEF staff hand-carried supplies from Manila to Tacloban, coordinated teams to give the vaccines and trained them on how to do it under these difficult circumstances," Julie Hall, the WHO representative in the Philippines, said. "It is virtually unprecedented that within two-and-a-half weeks of a disaster of this scale, with this level of devastation and these logistical challenges, that a mass vaccination campaign is already rolling out."