Zimbabwe: Typhoid Vaccine Scheme for Children Extended

THE national programme to vaccinate all children against typhoid has been extended for another two weeks to ensure the full target of 5,8 million vaccinations, with 4,1 million children already having been given their shots.

The Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) programme is part of the general vaccination programme by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to immunise all children against a wide range of childhood diseases that can kill or maim.

The vaccine was introduced through a nationwide catch-up vaccination campaign which integrates vaccines for polio prevention (IPV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) including vitamin A supplement.

Along with the new typhoid vaccinations, the regular programme saw 252 547 more children vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV) dose 1, a total of 153 051 for HPV dose 2, a total of 723 751 for polio prevention (IPV) and about 1,1 million have received Vitamin A supplement. Most of the children vaccinated against typhoid had already been immunised against the other diseases.

Health and Child Care Ministry spokesperson Mr Donald Mujiri said the mop up exercise was meant to cater for children who missed out during the 10-day mass vaccination campaign.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Care is conducting a mop-up vaccination exercise for typhoid, polio and human papillomavirus and vitamin A supplementation in all clinics and hospitals countrywide from now until 3 July.

"During the 10-day vaccination campaign the Ministry was racing against the closure of schools on 4 June. Some of the children in the communities were missed out during the campaign.

In addition, some districts did not manage to finish vaccinating in all schools due to the high workload.

The extended mop up period is therefore being conducted to give an opportunity to these children who were missed so that they can also be vaccinated and protected. As of this morning we had vaccinated 4 115 999 against a target of 5 861 235," he said.

Mr Mujiri said once schools opened during the last week of the month the programme will also extend to schools up until July 3.

He said it was difficult to meet the target during the first term as schools opened early.

He said learners were also attending school on a rotational basis, which limited the number of days during which learners could be vaccinated.

TCV helps to prevent typhoid fever, which is a life-threatening infection and outbreaks are increasing in the country.

Typhoid is a life-threatening condition caused by a bacteria called salmonella typhi and infection results in high death rates.

The TCV targets children between nine months and 15 years in line with recommendations from global and local immunisation experts.

Zimbabwe is the third country in the world to make the TCV part of its routine immunisation programme.

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