GOVERNMENT will this month start rolling out the Rotavirus vaccine for infants in a bid to immunise them against common diarrhoeal infections, a senior official in the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.
By Feluna Nleya
Epidemiology and Disease Control director Portia Manangazira said the vaccine, which would be targeted at children under the age of five, was initially scheduled to be rolled out last year.
“We have received the vaccine and we are quickly finalising training for health workers so that vaccination starts towards the end of April,” Manangazira said.
“The drug storage facilities which were being renovated are complete and we now have the vaccine in the country, we are just waiting for the training of the health workers.”
She said there were 1 500 health facilities, adding that all health workers at these centres needed training to administer the drug.
“We will be vaccinating children aged between six and 14 weeks, one child should be given each dosage at six weeks before the child’s immunity is exposed to the Rotavirus.
“The vaccine will be part of the national immunisation schedule.”
According to the latest weekly report from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 6 403 diarrhoeal cases and nine deaths were recorded countrywide among children under five years of age.
Manangazira said government was working with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) through Unicef to secure the vaccines.
GAVI is a public-private partnership focused on saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation.