Mass vaccinations begin amid measles outbreak

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Mass vaccination campaigns have begun in the five provinces where measles outbreaks have been declared. Another campaign for the four remaining provinces will begin next month.

The outbreak, that was first declared in Limpopo in October 2022, has now spread to five provinces with more than 370 confirmed cases.

The largest number of cases have been recorded in children between the ages of five to nine, followed by the one to four year age group and then the 10 to 14-year age group.

Child Health specialist at the National Department of Health, Dr Lesley Bamford says all children should have two doses of the measles vaccine.

“All children should have two doses of the measles vaccine. In the public sector, we give those doses at six months and 12 months. On an ongoing basis we provide catch up doses, up until the age of five years. The five provinces with outbreaks, have started mass vaccination campaigns. That is an additional dose, even of the child has received the two doses of vaccine, we recommend that all children in the targeted age group, receive a dose during the mass vaccination campaign.”

Meanwhile, the Health Department says, as learners return to the classroom, it remains concerned about the increased transmission of measles in the country.

The department’s spokesperson Foster Mohale is urging parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated.

“Definitely, we are concerned as the schools re-opened. Children who have visited from one place to another, others are coming from hotspot areas of this measles outbreak. If they are not vaccinated, the chance of transmitting this disease is high within the classroom. Hence we are saying,all the parents lets ensure that their children are up to date with the vaccinations in order to disrupt the transmission of measles in the classrooms.”

NCID confirmed that measles outbreak that started in Limpopo has spread across the country: 28 December 2022: