The second round of vaccination against measles and rubella (MR2) for children aged between 12 and 18 months will be launched early next year.
A meeting on the nationwide launch of Measles-Rubella Second Doses was held in Vientiane Capital on Nov 21 in the presences of Minister of Health, Dr Bounkong Sihavong, UNICEF Representative, Myo Zin Nyunt Ag, and WHO Representative, Dr Julist Fleischl.
MR2 introduction will be an opportunity not only to eliminate measles and rubella, but also to strengthen routine immunization by catching up on missed doses of all vaccines, and providing a platform for other health interventions during the second year of life for child survival and development efforts in Lao PDR, said, UNICEF Representative Myo Zin Nyunt Ag.
This step, a national commitment to eliminate two diseases � Measles and Rubella � lines with international recommendations such as WHO/SAGE October 2016 recommendations that all countries should add second measles vaccination dose into the national immunization schedule regardless of first measles dose vaccination coverage results.
Immunization has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in the world.
This event could not have come at a better time than now when Lao PDR has recently interrupted polio transmission.
Tuesday’s meeting has discussed measles-rubella elimination in the Lao PDR and in particular, the important addition of the second dose of measles-rubella vaccine which represents a critical step towards measles-rubella elimination for the country.
The Global Measles and Rubella Strategic Plan (2012-2020) provides the blue print that guide to eliminate measles and rubella in the globe as well as the region.
Currently the Western Pacific Region has developed the draft Regional Strategy and Plan of Action for Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Western Pacific aiming to achieve and sustain the elimination of measles and rubella in all countries and areas of the region.
The draft regional strategy was endorsed at the Regional Committee Meeting last month and serves as an important platform to ensure the successful elimination of measles and rubella in the region.
Lao PDR has already made important strides in reducing measles cases the number of measles confirmed cases decreased from 112 in 2014 to 8 in 2016 and only 3 so far this year.
Coverage of measles-rubella vaccines has also improved in recent years: MR coverage has increased from 69% in 2011 to 88% in 2015. However, in 2016 the MR1 coverage fell to 76%. As the target coverage to support elimination is 95%. We must recognize that routine delivery of both first and second dose of MR needs to increase significantly if we are to achieve the elimination goal, WTO representative, Dr Julist Fleischl said.
The addition of measles-rubella second dose is required to provide stronger protection for all children in the country.
From today all Lao children will receive a second measles-rubella vaccine (MR2) given after they have reached their first birthday.
The first dose of MR vaccine (MR1) will be continued to provide children aged between 9 and 11 months and the second dose (MR2) will be given to children aged between 12 and 18 months as one of the routine immunization Service.
The MR second dose (MR2) will be an opportunity to check every single child has received all the required vaccines and provide the missed vaccines as well as other integrated child health services at second year of life such as nutrition, growth monitoring, vitamin A supplementation and other important health interventions.
As always, WHO in collaboration with other development partners stand ready to support the Ministry of Health towards the achievement of the elimination of measles and rubella.
Source: Lao News Agency