Haiti introduced the rotavirus vaccine into its routine immunization program during World Immunization Week. Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe, often fatal diarrhea, and the vaccine is expected to protect tens of thousands of children under age five. More than 2,200 children die from the disease every year in Haiti, and it accounts for nearly half of all diarrhea-related deaths under age five. The GAVI Alliance is supporting the nation’s effort to immunize more than 250,000 children against the disease. “Rotavirus vaccine offers the best hope for preventing the deadly, dehydrating diarrhea that rotavirus causes,” says GAVI Deputy CEO Helen Evans. “Countries that have introduced rotavirus vaccine—as Haiti will do in the coming months—have experienced significant reductions in hospitalizations and deaths of children from severe diarrhea, underscoring the incredible potential to improve child health and save lives.”
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