Donetsk, Aug 22 – DAN. Kiev's refusal of Russian-made vaccines will cause an outbreak of diphtheria in Ukraine, the Joint safety monitoring mission to enterprises and objects in Kiev-controlled Donetsk region said, quoted by the DPR Emergencies Ministry.

"Third diphtheria case was recorded in Ukraine in July. The outbreak is expected in 2018-2019 if preventive measures are not applied timely. Miracle is unlikely to happen as Ukraine discontinued (imports) of Russian vaccines."

The Ministry said Ukrainian immunization rates are among the lowest in the world. The population vaccination level has dropped to 40 from 95 percent since 2014; free basic vaccines available for children only under six years old contributed to the decline, as the international threshold is 16 years old.

"Other vaccines cost 8-10 thousand hryvnia for a child, which highlights the government's priorities aimed at money draining, not disease control and prevention.

The DPR Ministry said such low-standard health policy resulted in reappearance of such diseases as stomach flu, measles, polio, etc.

State Service of Ukraine on Medicines and Drugs Control issued a decree banning imports of 75 medications. 50 of them made in Russia, including anti- tetanus, tick-borne encephalitis, staphylococcus vaccines.

An outbreak of diphtheria was registered in Ukraine in 1993-1996 affecting 20,000 people, when the disease-related deaths were recorded daily.*ot