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Nine-month olds to receive rubella vaccine

BY: Augustina Tawiah / Junior Graphic / Ghana

All children aged nine months will now receive measles/rubella vaccination as part of their immunization at child health clinics in the country.

“This means that the measles vaccine which was given at nine months would now be a vaccination for both measles/rubella,” the Acting Programme Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Mr John Frederick Dadzie, has said.

Mr Dadzie, who spoke to the Junior Graphic, explained that the move to give both vaccines together was aimed at building the immunity of children against those diseases.

He, however, explained that at 18 months, children would be given the second dose of only the measles vaccine.

He said the introduction of the second dose of the measles vaccine last year was meant to further build the immunity of children against the disease.

It would be recalled that in September this year, children between nine months to 14 years were vaccinated against rubella.

The move, according to the then Programme Manager of the EPI, Dr Kwadwo Odei Antwi-Agyei, had become necessary because the Ghana Health Service (GHS) wanted to reduce the incidence of congenital rubella syndrome, which shows as abnormalities in children.

Mr Dadzie described the recent nationwide rubella vaccination as successful, adding that the GHS targeted 11,169,557 children but 11,062,605 (99 per cent) were vaccinated.

When asked why mumps vaccination had not been added to the nationwide vaccinations, Mr Dadzie replied that mumps had not come up as a problem in the country.

He explained that before any vaccine was introduced, studies were conducted to prove that the condition was a problem and since nothing of that sort had been done in this country, with regard to mumps, a decision had not yet been taken.

He commended mothers for taking their children to child health clinics (weighing) and added that they should continue to take their children to all immunisation programmes introduced by the GHS. He also assured mothers that vaccines are safe and effective.