Zimbabwe commemorates World Immunisation Week; launches ‘catch up’ vaccination programs

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By Staff Reporter

THE health ministry in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has launched a ‘catch up’ immunisation program to cover vaccinations missed.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, essential routine immunization levels dropped in Zimbabwe leading to a rise in cases of preventable diseases such as measles and cholera.

Resources had to be diverted from routine health services towards responding to Covid-19 and lock-downs restricted movement to facilities.

Commemorating the World Immunisation Week in Harare Wednesday, (WHO) Public Health Specialist Responsible for Immunization, Rupfutse Maxwell said in the next three months, health facilities in all districts are ramping up immunization programs, urging citizens are being urged to go for catch up vaccinations.

“Our provinces are currently ramping up immunization and the main vaccines that have been directed specifically  for Covid 19, HPV. 

“WHO and its other partners have  developed  a generic immunization catch up schedule in  which countries can adapt to ensure that the children who have missed vaccinations since 2020, 2021, 2022 can still catch up on the missed vaccines.

“We really felt the knock as large numbers of preventable diseases were recorded as a result of Covid-19, number of deaths, disease outbreak like measles,” Rupfutse said.

 According to UNICEF’s report between 2019 and 2021, 67 million children worldwide missed out partially or entirely on receiving routine vaccinations, with the share of fully vaccinated children globally falling to one in every five children.