Baghdad, 3 March 2015 – A national polio vaccination campaign commenced in Iraq on 22 February 2015 aiming to reach 5.9 million children under five years old regardless of their previous vaccination status. In the Kurdistan region of Iraq, children from 9 months to 5 years will also be given a measles vaccine, in addition to the oral polio vaccine.
In March 2014, the Ministry of Health of Iraq declared a polio outbreak when a child in the Al-Rusafa area in the capital Baghdad was diagnosed with polio. This was the first case detected in Iraq after the country had succeeded in stopping transmission of the virus in 2000. In recognition of the risk of further spread, federal and regional governments, along with United Nations agencies, conducted emergency vaccination campaigns to reach 5.9 million children under 5 in 2014.