Cape Town - The Department of Health has called on parents to follow through with immunisation for their little ones.
Childhood immunisation services form an integral part of primary health care in the Western Cape, and can be accessed for free at all primary healthcare facilities. However, the department says it has seen a concerning decline in the number of immunisations over the past two years.
These vaccinations are described as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.
Sonia Botha, the Western Cape’s co-ordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, said there have been reductions in the hexavalent vaccine, a six-in-one vaccine protecting babies against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, haemophilus flu type B and hepatitis B, as well as the routine diphtheria and tetanus (Td) vaccines administered as part of the province’s integrated school immunisation programme
“South Africa’s immunisation schedule sees most vaccinations administered in the first year of a child’s life.
“For the period April 2021 to March 2022 the province recorded 91 482 fully immunised under 1 year, but for the same period in 2022 to 2023 they recorded 84 637.
“The schedule also requires booster doses at the age of 6 and 12.
“An essential part of keeping your child healthy this year and in future is staying up to date with their childhood immunisations.
“As a parent or caregiver, you can keep track of your child’s immunisation status in their Road to Health booklet and get those important jabs done at your nearest clinic before your child returns to, or starts, their ECD or school career,” she said.
Botha added that the department’s health team will be visiting public and special schools from February 6 until March 15 to administer the first dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and the tetanus and diphtheria (Td – Diftavax) booster free of charge.
“The HPV vaccine is part of the Integrated School Health Programme.
“The HPV vaccine is administered to Grade 5 girls over the age of 10 years with the necessary parental consent.
“If you have any concerns about vaccine safety, please talk to a health-care worker,” she said.