Measles – rubella, tetanus vaccination drive kicks off
A measles-rubella and tetanus immunisation exercise has today (Monday) kicked off across the country.
According to the Ministry of Health, the exercise is the largest immunisation event in history and is targeting some 19 million children between the ages of 9 months and 14 years and over 800,000 women.
The nationwide immunisation exercise is being conducted across all government health centres and selected churches and schools.
The children will get jabs of a new combined vaccine, which offers them double protection against measles and rubella.
Women aged 14 to 49 years will also form part of the campaign as they are immunised against tetanus.
The campaign is a prerequisite for the introduction of the measles and rubella, MR vaccine into routine immunisation, which will take place early next year.
Last year, a similar campaign was marred by controversy after the Catholic Church issued a warning to its members not to get the tetanus jab, implying that it had adverse side effects including sterilisation.
The ministry of health has since denied the allegations, declaring the jab safe.
Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus with complications such as severe diarrhoea and pneumonia, ear infection, brain damage and blindness while rubella can cause serious health complications to newborns such as birth defects, including heart problems, loss of hearing, eyesight and brain damage.
These diseases can spread easily through coughing and sneezing.