Brackenhurst Clinic head Sister Sibongile Fatyela gives six-year-old Thandaza Silimela the TD (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccination. Photo: Supplied.

EKURHULENI - Health practitioners have observed an alarming trend of parents missing their children’s immunisation appointments, while some lose the immunisation cards commonly known as the "road to health cards", the City of Ekurhuleni said on Sunday.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), immunisation prevented between two and three million deaths each year, the city said in a statement.

"Thus, the City of Ekurhuleni reiterates that every day is an immunisation day, and every child must be vaccinated according to the immunisation schedule," it said.

"It is important to get your little ones protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, and the first step towards ensuring that is through vaccination. It doesn’t matter whether you lost the road to health card or missed the scheduled date, ultimately a child must be immunised,” Sister Tembi Mahlangu, a manager of nursing services at the Brackenhurst Clinic in Alberton, said in the statement.

She further indicated that children needed all the required vaccinations at the right time during their developmental stages. Skipping a stage posed a threat to a child’s development, making them prone to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccines stimulated the body’s immune system, which helped to prevent and protect children from serious illnesses, such as polio, hepatitis, measles, meningitis, diphtheria, pneumonias, and other life-threatening illnesses that affected children as they grew.

Another important factor raised by health practitioners was that parents of school-going children tended to forget that their children needed to be immunised when they were six and 12 years old for the compulsory TD (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccination.

The human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) received by Grade 8 school children helped to prevent cervical cancer in girls, and reduced the risk of contracting viral infections that affected both girls and boys in lower body areas, such as genital wards, and reduced risk of anal cancer. The vaccine was given by the school health nurses, the city statement said.

Parents and guardians may visit Ekurhuleni health facilities between Monday and Friday, from 8am until 4pm. The city also offers extended operating hours in selected health facilities to accommodate parents who cannot make it during weekdays.

African News Agency (ANA)