UN to send polio vaccine to ISIS-held areas in Syria


Syrian refugee children in a camp in Lebanon. File photo

ARA News

A United Nations’ humanitarian aid adviser for Syria said on Thursday that trucks are being prepared to deliver anti-polio vaccine to areas held by militants of the Islamic State group (ISIS) in eastern Syria.

The shipment is to be delivered to Syria’s eastern province of Deir ez-Zor, which is largely under ISIS control.

UN aid advisor Jan Egeland said the decision was taken to send the vaccine after confirmation of a “very dangerous” outbreak of the polio virus.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced two cases in Deir ez-Zor of a polio strain derived from vaccines that mutated under weakening health and immunization conditions.

According to Egeland, 58 acute flaccid paralysis cases, a possible symptom of polio, had been reported in Deir ez-Zor this year through June 6.

“It’s one of the remarkable things of Syria’s war that people have been reached with vaccines, even in the Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa governorates held by ISIS,” he said.

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