Muscat: Two million people in Oman have been targeted under the national immunisation plan for MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine.
“We are targeting two million people between the ages of 20 and 35 in this national immunisation campaign for the MMR vaccine,” said Dr. Fatma Al Yaqoobi from the Department of Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health (MoH).
“In the first phase, which started in the Dhofar and Al Wusta regions from May 14, 15,000 people were vaccinated in Dhofar on day one and almost 21 per cent coverage was achieved in the Al Wusta region on the same day,” she added.
According to Al Yaqoobi, the urgent plan was introduced in response to the growing number of measles cases reported worldwide.
“This was done in response to an increase in the number of cases reported on the outbreak of measles worldwide, for example in Europe and neighbouring countries.”
“This was based on the measles surveillance data, in addition to the World Health Organisation (WHO) expert’s recommendation that it was decided to start the national immunisation campaign at this time.”
She added that because of the upcoming Khareef (monsoon) season in Salalah, a lot of people from abroad will come into the Omani borders, which is why the plan was started really soon to prevent any outbreaks from happening in the country.”
“Khareef is approaching in Dhofar really soon, and Ramadan is round the corner, so Dhofar will soon have visitors coming from inside and outside the country, so this will help prevent the spread of the disease.”
In Oman, measles cases were reported in different regions and found in both males and females. “Measles cases have been reported in a number of regions, where both males and female were affected. Most cases are found in those younger than one year and in the 20 to 35 years age group.”
The next phase is proposed to be conducted after Ramadan and will be held together for the rest of the governorates. “The next phase of the immunisation plan is proposed to be held after the holy month of Ramadan, probably in July, but the exact date will be announced later. The next phase will cover the rest of the Sultanate all at the same time.”
Al Yaqoobi also urged everyone in the age group between 20 and 35 years to take the vaccine. “We would like to ask all citizens and expatriates to support the campaign and get vaccinated to ensure achievement of the targeted coverage, and in order to protect themselves and the community from such diseases, as public health is the responsibility of every one living in this country.”