Pretoria - Parents whose children have not been vaccinated with an additional dose of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV 13) have been urged to visit their nearest primary health care facility.
The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality is currently running a vaccination campaign, where children under five years of age are being administered with a catch-up dose of the new PCV13. The campaign started on 1 February and will be running until 31 May 2012.
The vaccine is meant to protect children and their communities from pneumococcal diseases.
PCV was introduced on 1 April 2009 during the National Child Immunization Schedule in an attempt to achieve the Millennium Development Goal to reduce child morbidity and mortality from vaccine preventable diseases.
However, there has been slow uptake of PCV, hence Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi introduced a four-month Catch-Up Immunisation campaign in February, done in collaboration with the private sector and aimed at providing children under five with an additional dose of the vaccine.
Metro spokesperson Justice Mohale stressed the importance for parents with children between the ages of 18 and 72 months to examine their children's immunization cards.
"If the child received two or three doses of PCV7, they must be vaccinated now with PCV13. All children from 18 to 36 months who have missed the vaccination will receive one dose of PCV13; high risk children from 18 to 72 months will receive two doses," Mohale explained.
Parents, legal guardians or child minders may either visit their nearest primary health care facility to have their children vaccinated or enquire with their day care centres on when health workers are scheduled to visit.