Introduction of the Rotavirus Vaccine in the West Bank and Gaza

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Minister of Health Awwad administers the first dose of rotavirus vaccine to a 2-month old in Ramallah to mark the beginning of this three-year rotavirus vaccination initiative. (Photo credit: Ma'an News)
Minister of Health Awwad administers the first dose of rotavirus vaccine to a 2-month old in Ramallah to mark the beginning of this three-year rotavirus vaccination initiative. (Photo credit: Ma’an News)

All babies in the West Bank and Gaza – over 130,000 babies every year- are now receiving the potentially life-saving rotavirus vaccine. Beginning in 2016, RVF partnered with the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide for the universal vaccination of all infants in the West Bank and Gaza against rotavirus infection, which causes severe and potentially fatal diarrhea in babies. Rotavirus vaccine is considered essential for every child by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control.

As of today, over 260,000 infants in both the West Bank and Gaza were fully vaccinated with a coverage rates over 95%.

Mobile health clinics are helping ensure children in remote areas are able to receive the rotavirus vaccine. 

In addition to providing the rotavirus vaccine over the course of three years, the RVF is providing ongoing training to local health care workers, who are the sole implementers of the program. RVF reps are working with the Palestinian MOH to ensure that the program is fully sustained following the completion of the RVF’s direct assistance in 2019. The MOH has been sustaining RVF’s pneumococcal vaccine program since 2013.