The World Health Organization (WHO) is alarmed by reports from Syria that the only cold storage facility for vaccines in Meyadin district, Deir ez-Zor province, was destroyed during the fighting .
If the information is confirmed, then the child immunization program in the province will suffer, the WHO headquarters in Geneva said on Friday evening.
«More than 100,000 doses of measles vaccine and 35,000 doses of polio are stockpiled in this storage facility, along with equipment, syringes and supplies of all other childhood vaccines,» the headquarters said. She recalls the intensive efforts made by WHO and its partners to respond to the polio outbreak, which infected 48 children in Syria in March. If the destruction of the Meyadin vaccine storage facility is confirmed, the vaccination program will be «set back».
«We unequivocally condemn such actions. Vaccines are not a legitimate target in war,» said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO Representative in Syria. She explained that it will take time to build the new cold storage facility, and this «will delay the immunization of vulnerable children in the area.»
WHO recalls that with its support, a total of 23 vaccination campaigns have been carried out in Syria since 2013. The most recent polio campaign vaccinated 252,769 children under 4 years 11 months of age.