More than one million children and youths up to age 15 in Cambodia have been vaccinated against measles and rubella in a first-time campaign that aims to immunize another three million by the end of December.
Health officials are trying to reach all the country’s children aged nine months to 15 years with the new dual vaccination that tackles the highly contagious measles virus as well as - for the first time in the country - the generally mild rubella (also known as German measles) that can be debilitating for foetuses of infected women.
The Serum Institute of India is providing the combined vaccine at no cost until end of this year, allowing the country to tackle rubella for the first time.
“In other vaccination campaigns, children already received vaccines against measles, hepatitis B or other diseases. But we just introduced rubella this year, because through our disease surveillance, we found many rubella outbreaks,” Sann Chan Soeung, an adviser for the Ministry of Health's national immunization programme, said.
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