By Kampala Post Reporter
The Ministry of Health has assured parents on the safety of the Measles and Rubella vaccine that is being used in the ongoing national immunization exercise that kicked off on Tuesday October 15.
The Ministry has disputed as false circulating allegations that the vaccine is dangerous to children. The mass immunization exercise runs up to Sunday October 20. The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng explains that contrary to allegations on social media, the Measles-Rubella vaccine does not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and that several studies have shown there is no link between the vaccines and developing ASD. ASD is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour.
Dr Aceng further explains that in the recent past, Uganda has experienced Measles and Rubella outbreak in over 60 districts upon which background together with partners they decided to launch the immunization campaign. “We appeal to all parents, caretakers and guardians, to take all your children below 15 years of age for immunization against Measles, Rubella and Polio during this mass immunization exercise,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
Dr Aceng added that the vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and are therefore safe, free and effective. According to the Ministry Uganda is set to immunize more than 18 million children against measles and rubella, which amounts to 43% of the country’s population. Among them, 8.2 million children younger than 9 months, or 20.5% of the population, will also receive the oral polio vaccine.
The five-day mass immunization campaign, funded by the Government of Uganda, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), the Vaccine Alliance; the United Nations Children’s Fund; and the World Health Organization (WHO); intends to tackle these three public health challenges. The campaign, to be conducted in schools for the first three days and in communities for the last two days, targets all children younger than 15 years, whether previously immunized or not, in order to interrupt the circulation of these diseases.
The campaign will be a Launchpad to introduce the measles-rubella vaccine into the country’s routine immunization schedule. “This campaign does NOT replace the routine immunization schedule. Parents, caregivers and all concerned must ensure that all children receive and complete all the vaccines specified on our immunization schedule after the campaign,” Dr Jane Ruth Aceng emphasizes.