H1N1 immunisations to start

THE Department of Health will embarks on a massive immunisation campaign from the next months.

Among the diseases to be vaccinated against is the H1N1 influenza, measles, polio and deworming of children.

The first programme kicks off with the H1N1 flu vaccine from March 15 to May 31. From April 12 to April 23 the first phase of vaccination against polio, measles and deworming starts, and the second phase on May 24 to May 28.

Health spokesperson Charity Bhengu said yesterday: "We have 1,3million doses of H1N1 vaccines and have been given another 3,5million by the World Health Organisation.

"The department is preparing for two national immunisation campaigns for H1NI influenza. The first immunisation campaign will be against H1N1 for people who are at high risk, including frontline clinicians in casualty, Intensive care units and emergency services personnel and children under the age of 15 years with HIV and Aids.

"Phase two will be from May 3 to May 31 for pregnant women and patients attending specialist heart and lung disease clinics."

Parents are advised to take their children under the age of five years to clinics during this period, even if they had been vaccinated against polio before. The deworming programme only affects children between the ages of one and five years and would be done on the second leg.

The measles programme has been extended from nine months to 15 years. The department has advised mothers and caregivers to take children to a clinic for a dose of Vitamin A every six months.

"Although cases of measles were confined to Gauteng last year, we would like to prevent a repeat of the outbreak. To this end the government has committed itself to conducting a massive national polio and vaccination campaign in April."