Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance & Control
Directorate General of Health Affairs Ministry of Health HQ, PO Box 393
PC 100, MUSCAT
Sultanate of Oman
Tel : + (968) 24601921/ 24607524
Fax : + (968) 24601832
Email : email@example.com
Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)
Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) was launched in 1981 within the EPI section under the Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance & Control. It is the policy of the MoH to vaccinate all children under six years of age against the 13 vaccine preventable diseases, and to vaccinate all women of childbearing age with TT and Rubella as well as the high-risk groups with Hepatitis B and seasonal Influenza vaccine. In addition to Health care workers to receive Hepatitis B, Varicella Vaccine and seasonal Influenza Vaccine. A standardized record system for vaccination that included the child health card and child health register (MR2 register) was introduced. A unique defaulter retrieval system was also initiated to complement the programme. As a result, the immunization coverage levels have increasedsubstantially from 10% in 1981 to over 95% in 1995. The near 100% coverage among eligible children has been maintained till 2011 resulting in an impact on the incidence of all vaccine preventable diseases in Oman.
Since the introduction of EPI in Oman the vaccination schedule was changed on various occasions based either on the evidence of the changing incidence of vaccine preventable diseases or on the recommendations of WHO.
As of January 2008, the EPI schedule under one year was modified to meet the WHO and GCC directions.The current timings are at birth, 2, 4, 6 and 12 months. In May 2010, PCV-13 was introduced in place of PCV-7.
The marked achievement in immunization coverage (>98%) both nationally, regionally and at district (Wilayat)level has resulted from an expansion of EPI to the grass root level by its integration into the Primary Health Care services provided by the Ministry of Health.
Other sister health organization as well as the private health establishments have also contributed substantially to the programmes remarkable success in Oman.
Oman Vaccine Management Training centre: As of 2011, 6 training courses were organized by the “Oman VM Training Centre” on vaccine management since its establishment in 2003 in GCC viz. Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai. Four regional courses for WHO-EMR countries were also conducted in Sudan, Iran, Syria, Jordan and Muscat besides three WHO sponsored international “Vaccine Store Management” Courses under the GTN/VMTC initiative.
- Introducing combined vaccines e.g. Hexavalent (IPV, HepB, DTP and Hib), MMR-V (measles, mumps, rubellaand varicella) into EPI schedule to further reduce the number of injections given to a child.
- Introduction of Rotavirus and Hepatitis A vaccines in EPI.
- Introduction of new tools to assess effectiveness and reliability of transportation of vaccine from the central vaccine store.