Youths urged to receive vaccination

Timoci Naqona, 7, after gettng meningococcal disease vaccination from staff nurse Merewalesi Baba, as Minister for Health and Medical Service Rosy Akbar looks on during the launch of the meningococcal disease - nationwide immunization campaign for children aged 1-19 years at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Toorak, Suva last Friday, May 11, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THOSE who qualify for the State’s meningococcal disease immunisation program have been urged to make good use of the opportunity. Health Minister Rosy Akbar said having to deal with a meningococcal infection was devastating and costly.

Ms Akbar made these comments during the launch of the meningococcal vaccination nationwide immunisation campaign for children aged one to 19 years at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Suva yesterday.

“There has been a lot of hard work happening behind the scenes to make the vaccines available for our children and also for the nation’s protection from this deadly disease,” she said.

Ms Akbar said vaccination not only protected individuals from life-threatening diseases, but also offered protection to the community at large.

“As such, it is also important that community members are aware of the proven effectiveness of immunisation in saving lives and preventing serious morbidity and mortality.

She reiterated all immunisations used in the immunisation program were safe and effective and World Health Organization pre-qualified. “Vaccination has been demonstrated to be one of the most effective and cost-effective public health interventions.”

She said worldwide, it had been estimated that immunisation programs prevented about 2.5 million deaths each year.

Meanwhile, the ministry will begin its mass vaccination program in Ra for the Western Division and the Central Division on Monday.

The nationwide meningococcal vaccination campaign is targeting more than 333,876 Fijians aged 19 years and below.