While the world is focused on new vaccines to protect against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Department of Health says it is important to ensure that routine vaccinations are not missed.
“In South Africa, about 298 935 children missed their routine immunisation since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, which suggests that they might be vulnerable to childhood diseases,” says the department.
Missing routine vaccinations leaves children at risk of serious vaccine preventable diseases including measles, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B, TB, haemophilus influenza, diarrhoea and pneumococcal infections, which claims hundreds of millions of lives.
The department has partnered with various stakeholders to embark on a countrywide immunisation catch-up drive to ensure that children are up-to-date with their immunisation schedule.
This is especially important for those who missed routine vaccines and other child health services as a result of interruptions caused by COVID-19.
“Immunisation saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.
“In this context, this year’s campaign will aim to build solidarity and trust in vaccination as a public good that saves lives and protects health,” says the department.
To ensure the safety of children and healthcare workers, parents, caregivers and other community members must comply with all COVID-19 protocols when visiting health facilities for child immunisation and other health services.
If your child has missed any of their routine immunisations take him or her to your local clinic for further assistance.