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After the 2016 Balkan route border closures, vaccination of refugee children in Greece was mainly performed by non-governmental organisations. Activities varied between camps, resulting in heterogeneity of vaccination coverage (VC). In April 2017, the European programme ‘PHILOS - Emergency health response to refugee crisis’ took over vaccination coordination. Interventions were planned for the first time for refugee children in the community and unaccompanied minors at safe zones. From April 2017–April 2018, 57,615 vaccinations were performed against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) (21,031), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (7,341), poliomyelitis (7,652), pneumococcal disease (5,938), type b (7,179) and hepatitis B (8,474). In April 2018, the vaccination status of children at camps (reception and identification centres and community facilities such as hostels/hotels were excluded) was recorded and VC for each disease, stratified by dose, nationality and camp size, was calculated. More than 80% of the children received the first MMR dose, with VC dropping to 45% for the second dose. For all other vaccines, VC was < 50% for the first dose in children aged 0–4 years and < 25% for the second dose. Despite challenges, PHILOS improved planning and monitoring of vaccination activities; however, further efforts towards improving VC in refugee children are needed.


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