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RAMALLAH.  Preliminary data compiled and reviewed by RVF and the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH), has shown a significant reduction in number of children under 3 years of age hospitalized for diarrhea since the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine in Gaza. Rotavirus infection is the leading cause of severe and fatal diarrhea in children under five years of age.

Palestinian infant is vaccinated against rotavirus disease

Collaboratively with the MOH and UNRWA, RVF introduced the rotavirus vaccine into the routine immunization schedule for children in the Palestinian Territories in 2016. Routine vaccination of infants began in May 2016.  To date,  148,910 infants have been fully immunized with coverage rates over 96%.

To assess the impact of the rotavirus vaccination program, RVF has compared the hospitalization rates for children under 3 years of age in Gaza from 2015 and 2016. This assessment has shown a 28% reduction in rates of children hospitalized for diarrhea. The number of cases show a sudden drop in July 2016 coinciding with the introduction of the rotavirus vaccine. RVF fully expects this trend to become more pronounced as the universal vaccination of infants against rotavirus continues. This significant reduction clearly indicates that this vaccine is already saving lives.

Find out more about RVF’s rotavirus vaccination program in the West Bank and Gaza by watching
the video below or read more about RVF’s rotavirus program in the West Bank and Gaza here.

This initiative is made possible by generous funding from the Red Crescent of the UAE and USAID (USAID serves only the non-refugee Palestinian population in the West Bank). Additional support is provided from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and operational support from UNRWA, the UN Agency serving Palestinian refugees.