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Rotavirus vaccine is safe, free – Ezenyimulu

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Rotavirus vaccine

By Emeka Chiaghanam        

As part of the state’s government effort to reduce child mortality and advance the well-being of mother and child for the overall health of the state, the state government is intensifying efforts with its campaign on immunisation of children.

Executive Secretary and  Chief Executive Officer, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHDA), Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu disclosed this at the one-day stakeholders’ engagement meeting to get their buy-in into the Rotavirus vaccine exercise and to work out a strategy for effective introduction of the vaccine in the state.

The vaccine is protection for children against Rotavirus which causes diarrhoea in children

She further revealed that the Anambra Ministry of Health through the ASPHDA and her partners, World Health Organisation, (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) are set to introduce Rotavirus vaccination into routine immunisations in the state.

Dr Ezenyimulu explained that three doses of the vaccine will be administered in the sixth, tenth and 14th week of every child alongside other routine immunisations at all designated health facilities.

“Diarrhoeal diseases caused by Rotavirus are the most common in infants and young children of three and 35 months of age and according to WHO, diarrhoeal diseases are the second leading cause of death in children under five years old.

Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of childhood diarrhoeal diseases while 525, 000 children under five die from the disease each year. As such, the introduction of the vaccine which began nationwide on August 22, 2022, is to drastically reduce and protect children from the disease.”

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Dr Ezenyimulu sought the support of stakeholders in taking the message down to the grassroots and assured that the vaccine is effective, safe and free of charge. That it’s available in all primary healthcare centres in the state and anybody caught selling it should be reported.

The Director, of Disease Control and Immunisation, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Placid Uliagbafusi said that the Rotavirus vaccine can be administered simultaneously at six weeks with OPV1, PENTA1, IPV1, the second dose at ten weeks with OPV2, PENTA2, and PCV2 while the third dose will be taken at fourteen weeks with OPV3, PENTA3, PCV3 and IPV3.

Dr Uliagbafusi emphasised that the stakeholders’ meeting will contribute to ensuring that the people understand the true message and importance of the introduction.

In her remarks, State Health Educator- Uju Onwuegbuzina noted that while Rotavirus is not the only cause of all diarrhoeal diseases, it accounts for the highest number of the diseases and as such, vaccination against Rotavirus is guaranteed to protect the child from most diarrhoeal diseases.

The stakeholder’s meeting, which featured lectures and an overview of the vaccination exercise also attracted representatives of local and international partners including the Red Cross Society, among others.

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