Emergency polio and measles vaccination under way in Syria

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UNICEF vaccinations

An emergency campaign in Syria to protect young children against measles and polio has been described by the UN children's agency (UNICEF) as amazing, as it is under way even as fighting rages on.

UNICEF says it is targeting 1.4 million children although there has been no reassurance from the warring parties that it will not be interrupted by fighting.

Approximately 4,000 health workers and volunteers are participating in the campaign across 13 of the country's 14 governorates.

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado says since the campaign started on 26 November, more than 1 million children have received polio and measles vaccines.

"The numbers speak for themselves but our field workers are telling us that throughout the country you are seeing long lines of parents with their children waiting for the vaccines even in places like Homs. One of our field workers is talking about visiting health centres where the sounds of the children crying after they have been vaccinated are mixing with the sounds of gunshots and shelling out in the streets. It's an amazing campaign that really has been made possible with huge support from the community."

Duration: 28"

Marixie Mercado says religious leaders have done a lot of work in getting the message out to the people and the Syrian Red Crescent has been, in her own words, "incredibly helpful as well".

The campaign, which runs through 10 December, is being carried out by UNICEF in coordination with the World Health Organization and the Syrian Ministry of Health.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'45"

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