MEDIA STATEMENT

 

To: Editors & Health Journalists

Issued by: Department of Health

Date: Wednesday, 15 February 2023

 

Health Department urges parents and caregivers to support child immunisation campaign

 

Pretoria: The Department of Health appeals to parents and caregivers to put the health of their children first by supporting the national child immunisation campaign against measles, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and other vaccine preventable diseases.

 

The department, working closely with the sister Departments of Basic Education and Social Development, provinces and various stakeholders has embarked on a nationwide child immunisation campaign to vaccinate children at schools, early childhood development centres and other public places to ensure no child is left behind.

 

Schools have been issuing consent forms to learners for parents and caregivers to sign to enable health workers to immunise learners.

 

No learner will be immunised until his or her parents or legal guardian has given permission through signing a consent form, and parents are strongly encouraged to provide this consent.

 

The country has recorded 506 laboratory-confirmed cases of measles since the outbreak of this highly contagious, but preventable disease caused by a virus which mainly spreads through infectious airborne respiratory droplets from infected persons when coughing or sneezing.

 

The majority of the infected people by measles are between the ages of 1 and 15 years, hence the campaign is targeting all children between 6 months and 15 years.

 

Unimmunised children are at the highest risk of contracting measles and infecting other classmates and household members.

 

Measles symptoms include fever, red eyes, runny nose and cough which typically appear before the onset of the disease’s characteristic maculopapular rash.

 

Although often mild and self-limiting, some people, especially young children and pregnant women may develop complications such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, ear infections and eye complications resulting in admission to hospital and in severe cases death. HPV vaccine protects girls from developing cervical cancer later in life.

 

Measles and HPV vaccines are safe and effective.

 

Measles vaccines are available free of charge at public health facilities, whilst HPV vaccination is offered to Grade 5 girl learners aged 9 years and older in public schools through the school-based campaign.

 

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Foster Mohale
Health Departmental Spokesperson
0724323792
Foster.mohale@health.gov.za

Mr Doctor Tshwale
Spokesperson for Health Minister
063 657 8487
Doctor.Tshwale@health.gov.za