World Immunisation Week is celebrated from 24 to 30 April. This year’s theme is Long Life For All.
This aims to unify people around the idea that vaccines make it possible for us to follow our dreams, protect our loved ones and live a long, healthy life.
Health minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, addressed Mangweni residents on Monday. He launched the Malaria Day Celebration and launch of World Immunisation Week.
He said immunisation remains one of the greatest Public Health Achievements of the past 100 years. The Health Department continues to see global progress on protecting children and communities. Lifesaving vaccines, new and previously underutilised vaccines are now available in many countries at an increasing speed.
“The South African immunisation programme continues to expand not only with vaccinating children but also targeting all age groups with other vaccines such as tetanus and influenza, and the recently introduced COVID-19 vaccines.
“Immunisation not only benefits those who are vaccinated, it also benefits those who were not vaccinated as the targeted diseases come under control and are eventually eliminated,” said the minister.
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Here are some of these achievements of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in SA:
1. Polio has been eliminated with the last case in South Africa recorded in 1989.
2. Measles are under control apart from 2017 outbreaks in Gauteng and the Western Cape.
3. Other conditions are under control, such as neonatal tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and each single case is considered an outbreak.
4. In the continent, South Africa has been one of the first countries to introduce new childhood vaccines such as Hepatitis B in 1995, Haemophilus Influenza Type B in 1999, PCV and RV in 2009, HPV in 2014.
- We have administered over 34 million doses of Covid vaccines, with over two-thirds of those most at risk for severe disease and death having received at least one dose of the vaccine.
6. There in an increased number of pregnant women taking influenza vaccine; an increase from 48,966 in 2017 to 172,866 in 2020.
7. Since implementing Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccines in 2009 results of special studies and surveillance show that there has been over 40% reduction in pneumococcal diseases in all ages.