Measles vaccine is safe, assures dept

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Health has reassured parents and guardians that the current measles jab being dispensed at schools as part of the measles vaccination campaign is safe.

"Contrary to prevailing perceptions, the Department of Health would like to re-assure parents, guardians and general members of the public about the safety of the current measles vaccination programme and vaccination for other diseases in general," it said in a statement.

The department was responding to concerns raised by some parents that the vaccines might be dangerous, or that the same needle might be used more than once.

The department said there was no truth to the claims that the same needle was used in vaccinating more than one child and thus exposing them to possible diseases and infections.

"Health care workers, including nurses who vaccinate children, are fully trained in performing such duties and there are strict protocols that are followed in this regard."

At least four people have died as a result of contracting measles and almost 940 cases have been recorded, since the outbreak of measles, mostly in Gauteng, prompting a mass immunisation campaign for people up to the age of 19.

The department said it was encouraged by the response to its vaccination campaign so far but would still like to appeal to parents and guardians to ensure that children under their custody were vaccinated not only for measles but for other diseases such as polio for instance.

"It is through such campaigns that the high infant and under-five mortality rate can be reduced in our country," it said.