GENEVA, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Attacks on health workers, medical facilities and vaccine stocks are putting the lives of all Syrian children at risk, the global Vaccine Alliance, or Gavi, said on Tuesday following last week's strike on medical facilities in eastern Syria.
Al-Mayadeen district in eastern Syria is the center of a vaccine-derived polio outbreak which has so far paralyzed 48 children since March 2017.
According to UNICEF, ongoing violence there last week destroyed the only cold room in the region that was containing over 100,000 measles and polio vaccines. Other vaccines, equipment and syringes were also destroyed in the attack, causing delay to the immunization of the most vulnerable children in the region.
"The destruction of these vaccines will hamper efforts to curtail a growing polio outbreak and to protect children against measles, one of the world's most infectious diseases," said Gavi CEO Seth Berkley.
"Health workers and medical facilities are not a target. Children are the future of the country and therefore deserve our support. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure they receive it," he continued.
Gavi is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. Since 2000, it has contributed to the immunization of nearly 580 million children and the prevention of nearly eight million future deaths.
Last December, Gavi took the decision to supply vaccines to Syria by channeling support through partners including UNICEF, WHO and civil society organizations. The mission aims to immunize around three million children under the age of five across the country, where basic vaccine coverage has dropped to around 40 percent compared to over 80 percent before the war.