NATION

Akbar Tells Why Campaign Is Vital

Vaccination not only protects individuals, but others in the community by increasing the overall level of immunity in the population, minimizing the spread of infection. This statement was made yesterday
12 May 2018 10:22
Akbar Tells Why Campaign Is Vital
Minister fof Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar tries to assist a student get the injection during the Meningococcal Vaccination nationwide immunazation campaign for chidren at the Ministry of Health Headquarters Suva on May 11,2018.Photo:Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Vaccination not only protects individuals, but others in the community by increasing the overall level of immunity in the population, minimizing the spread of infection.

This statement was made yesterday by the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar, during a press conference on the nationwide Meningococcal vaccination immunization campaign for children aged one to adolescents upto 19 years at the ministry’s headquarters in Suva.

The ministry is targeting children from 12 months old and adoles­cents upto 19 years, with the hope of reaching about 325,000 children and adolescents across the country during the next few months.

Ms Akbar said a lot of hard work happened behind the scenes to make the vaccines available for them and the nation’s protection from the deadly disease.

“I now urge all parents, guard­ians, children, adolescents and friends to make good use of this opportunity because the cost of having to deal with a meningococ­cal infection is devastating and costly,” Ms Akbar said.

The Australian High Commission Suva’s bilateral counsellor, Chris­tina Munzer, said since the an­nouncement of the outbreak, the National Meningococcal Taskforce of which Australia is a member, was working hard to formulate a plan to address the high risk areas and population groups as a crucial first step to containing the current outbreak.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) deputy representative Vathinee Jitjaturunt said UNICEF had supported the Government to source 124,830 doses of Meningo­coccal C conjugated vaccine. The remaining 200,000 vaccine doses are currently in the process of be­ing procured and have yet to ar­rive.

“It is important for people to take preventative measures to protect against this illness, like personal hygiene, not sharing common utensils, covering mouths while coughing or sneezing,” Ms Jitjatu­runt said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Division of Pacific Techni­cal Support officer in charge, Wen­dy Snowdon, said while meningo­coccal was not a common disease, unfortunately here in Fiji, they have seen an increase in patients with confirmed and suspected meningococcal disease and this has been concerning for everyone.

“Whilst being alert for signs and symptoms, and seeking urgent medical treatment is one of the most important actions a person can take to provide the best protec­tion against this deadly disease,” Ms Snowdon said.

“Getting vaccinated is something that is easy, simple and has a high safety record.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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