Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has extended the national children’s Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) programme for a further two weeks with 4,1 million having been vaccinated against a target of 5,8 million.
252 547 have been 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.
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 supplementation.
The programme was launched on May 24 and ended on June 4.
Ministry of Health and Child Care 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.
Mr Mujiri 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 new Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) is set to protect children aged below 15 years from typhoid which has been detected in Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru.
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. — @DubeMatutu