Campaign to immunise 60,000 children begins

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God, bless these children... 

mass-vaccination in qatarQATAR - MORE than 60,000 children will be vaccinated over a five-day period in the first phase of the multi-antigen mass immunisation campaign launched yesterday by the National Health Authority’s (NHA) Communicable Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention section.

NHA chief executive officer Dr Michael Walsh inaugurated the campaign at the vaccination unit at Abu Hamour. Chairman of the Expert Committee on Immunisation, Dr Mohamed al-Janahi, CDC head Dr Syed Fazal Shah, and NHA director of communications Abdul Azeez al-Sulaiti were also present.

Walsh told a press conference at the NHA headquarters on Thursday that all children aged two months to five years would be administered two doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and a dose of pneumocococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in the current round.

The objective of the campaign is to ensure immunity against wild poliovirus, prevalent in some countries of the region.

The official expressed the hope that vaccination would ensure the total elimination of measles, rubella and pneumococcal diseases from the country.

Walsh said vaccinations would be administered at 24 public health centres all over Qatar.

About 100 nurses, other paramedics and volunteers have been trained to carry out the immunisation campaign at these centres. NHA’s mobile vaccination units are also being kept ready.

"The main intention of the campaign is to help children have a better level of health and a higher level of antibodies, capable of neutralising bacteria, viruses and other harmful toxins," al-Janahi said.

The second phase of the campaign, starting on January 14, will target children aged one to five years. They will be administered one dose of mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Asked about the reasons for intensifying the campaign this year, al-Janahi said even though Qatar has an excellent record in immunising children, it is "sandwiched between two regions which have a history of outbreaks of infectious diseases."

Some Asian and Afro-Arabian countries have seen outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases during the last few years, he pointed out.

Al-Janahi also called for an intensive campaign by the media to create awareness about the prevalence of such diseases in the region.

Asked if the closure of some schools this week would hit the plans of the NHA, Shah said the exercise is being co-ordinated with the Ministry of Education and NHA mobile vans will visit more than 115 kindergartens and schools.

Most of the centres offering vaccination will operate in two shifts, from 7am to 2pm, and 4pm to 7pm.

Vaccination will be available from 7am to 11pm in Shamal and round the clock in Umm Bab. Some private clinics will also join the campaign, Shah said.

The centres providing vaccinations are in Abu Backer Siddique, Abu Hamour, Al-Kaaban, Al-Shamal, Gharrafah, Ghuwariah, Jemailiah, West Bay, Al Khor, Airport, Khalifa Town, Rayyan, Shahniyah, Umm Salal, Wakrah, QP Ras Abou Aboud (up to 1pm), QP Dukhan, QP Mesaieed, Al Montazah, Omar bin Khatab, Umm Bab, Umm Ghwalia, Kareena, Vaccine Unit (Abu Hamour).

NHA’s general services director Abdullah al-Hamar was also present at the press conference.

source - Gulf Times