MACVF Receives $100,000 from Lincy Foundation to Bring Life-Saving Vaccines to Armenia’s Children

Funds in Place to Secure Armenia’s Immediate Need for Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine

NEW YORK, New York, September 26, 2001 – Garnering further support to alleviate Armenia’s vulnerability to vaccine shortages, the Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund (MACVF) received a $100,000 donation from the Lincy Foundation to purchase life-saving vaccines for Armenia’s children. Combined with recent donations from the Cafesjian Family Foundation and other contributions to the newly launched capital fund, the MACVF is now armed with sufficient resources to respond to Armenia’s request for the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“We are working with our partners to develop a comprehensive plan for the elimination of measles and the prevention of rubella and mumps,” said Dr. Doris Mugrditchian, MACVF public health advisor, who met with representatives of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and CDC in Armenia last month. “Given a worldwide supply shortage of MMR vaccine this year and an anticipated implementation date of July 2002, we are working to reach an early agreement with our partners to secure a supply of MMR vaccine for Armenia before the year-end.”

The bundled MMR vaccine will replace the separate measles and mumps vaccines currently included in the immunization schedule and will introduce rubella vaccination to Armenia. A first for Armenia, rubella vaccination will help prevent congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) due to maternal infection in early pregnancy. Rubella can be a disastrous disease in early gestation leading to many complications such as premature delivery, fetal death, and an array of congenital defects such as deafness, blindness, heart defects, and mental retardation.

“The introduction of a combined MMR vaccine also addresses Armenia’s recurrent shortages of mumps vaccine that have resulted in mumps outbreaks over the last several years,” stated Dr. Margarita Balassanian, former head of the National Immunization Program in Armenia and advisor to MACVF. “Mumps control is regarded as an extremely important public health issue by Armenian health professionals and lay persons alike, due primarily to its association to male infertility.”

The gift from the Lincy Foundation demonstrates the growing support for the MACVF children’s immunization campaign, which has brought together an impressive network of donors, health experts and financial advisors dedicated to the sustainable procurement of vaccines to Armenia. “The Lincy Foundation understands the challenges faced by Armenia’s national immunization program and we greatly appreciate their contribution toward securing life-saving vaccines to offset any shortages in the immediate future,” stated Raffy Ardhaldjian, chairman of the Ani & Narod Memorial Foundation, the organization spearheading the children’s immunization campaign.

With more than 37,000 newborn children needing routine vaccinations every year, Armenia currently imports all its vaccines and is fully dependent on foreign aid to finance its immunization needs. In 1999, the Ani & Narod Memorial Foundation (ANMF) established the Millennium Armenian Children’s Vaccine Fund (MACVF), a board designated public-private capital fund to raise the $1.4 million needed to ensure a steady stream of income to finance Armenia’s vaccine costs for the next 15 years and beyond.

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