Print this page
Sunday, 23 June 2019 09:30

Vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives. It is the only way to keep children free from vaccine-preventable diseases

Baghdad, 20 June 2019: The World Health Organization (WHO) reaffirm its commitment to continue working with and supporting the Ministry of Health to ensure that the children in Iraq continue to receive all the required vaccines that are safe and needed to promote healthy lives in earlier years of age.

Over several decades, WHO has supported the Government of Iraq along with other areas of health, immunization of children through routine vaccinations and supplementary immunization days targeting vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, measles, and others. This support saw Iraq being declared a polio-free country in 2015. This gain should be maintained, and WHO is committed to ensuring that this status stay as is.

“Children’s health is a top priority for WHO and its partners. In January 2016, the Ministry of Health, Iraq switched from the use of pentavalent to the use of hexavalent vaccines, a move that was the sole decision of the Ministry of Health. However, the Ministry has decided to switch back to pentavalent vaccine based on internal reviews, technical analysis, efficacy and cost-effectiveness, a decision which WHO welcomes,” said Dr Adham Ismail, WHO Country Representative for Iraq.

Both pentavalent and Hexavalent vaccines protect children against five diseases, including tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). However, Hexavalent protects against a sixth disease, polio. One noted difference between pentavalent and hexavalent vaccines is that hexavalent contains a type of pertussis vaccine that is less immunogenic compared to the type of Pertussis vaccine in other non-inactivated polio vaccines (IPV) containing combinations such as Penta or DPT. Immunogenic refers to substances are can produce an immune response. Based on these facts, WHO supports the government of Iraq in the choice of vaccines that they intend to use.

For over 30 years, WHO has supported the Ministry of Health in Iraq to ensure children under 5 years receive all doses of vaccines, are fully immunized and protected from vaccine-preventable communicable diseases by providing technical support, developing guidelines and technical materials, training managers and vaccinators in delivering immunization services, monitoring and reporting the vaccination coverage. The overarching aim is to ensure that children are reached even in hard to reach the areas of this country.

In the last vaccination campaign held in April, WHO supported health authorities in reaching out and vaccinating more than 5.5 million children with Oral Polio Vaccine throughout Iraq and work continues to ensure the country remains polio-free.

WHO wants to reiterate that vaccines are safe, and the best and only way to keep our children safe to protect them against vaccine-preventable diseases, which are killing, crippling and causing suffering of children.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Pauline Ajello, WHO Communications Officer
Mobile: +964 7729877288
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ms Ajyal Sultany, WHO Communications Officer
Mobile: +964 7740 892 878
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ms Gheeda Mayahi, WHO Communications Officer
Mobile: +964 7827886765
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional Info

  • Agency: WHO
Last modified on Sunday, 23 June 2019 09:52