Home » Health » New Measles Vaccine On Cards

Government will soon introduce new measles and polio vaccines for children to combat the resurgence of the child killer diseases. Epidemiology and disease control director Dr Portia Manangazira said the two vaccines, measles Rubella (MR) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) will be rolled out in June throughout the country.

She said the polio vaccine will be given to children at 14 weeks as a single dose only while the measles rubella will be administered at nine months and at 18 months.

“There has been an increase of rubella cases in the country. Rubella causes fetal abnormalities called “congenital rubella syndrome” in early pregnancy hence the country decided to introduce the rubella vaccine in a measles containing antigen in order to prevent congenital rubella syndrome,” she said.

Dr Manangazira said the country had already noted cases of congenital rubella syndrome.

She said the introduction of the polio vaccine was one of the country’s strategies to eradicate polio as recommended by the World Health Organisation’s strategic group of experts for immunisation.

“All countries, including Zimbabwe are urged to introduce IPV in their routine Expanded Programme on Immunisation schedule.

“IPV is a trivalent vaccine which is in an injection form and prevents polio. IPV boosts immunity against polio virus.

“It is going to be given together with oral polio vaccine as a single dose at 14 weeks,” she said.

The introduction of these two vaccines will bring the total number of antigens given to children to 12, the majority of which are administered at birth, at four-week intervals starting from six weeks up to 14 weeks and at nine months, respectively.

Dr Manangazira said the vaccines were important in the growth of children as they reduce chances of vaccine preventable diseases.

She said since the measles outbreak which occurred in the country between 2009 and 2010, there has been growing acceptance of Government’s national immunisation programmes particularly by vaccination objectors.

“The communities now readily accept vaccination because they have realised that vaccines reduce incidences of childhood diseases but there are still pockets of objectors,” she said.

She said there was need for a g base of aocacy and social mobilisation activities to effectively implement any public health programme.

Source : The Herald

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