Men-C shots to last six weeks

THE Health Ministry will hold a six-week long mass vaccination program for the life-threatening meningococcal disease with children between the ages of 12 months to 19 years as the targeted audience.

While no time frame has been given, Health Minister Rosy Akbar said the program would commence once the vaccines arrived in the country.

Ms Akbar told Parliament yesterday that 333,876 children would be vaccinated.

She said the vaccination program would begin in the Central Division before it was rolled out to the other three divisions.

Ms Akbar said there would be three posts — permanent posts would be all health facilities, temporary posts would be schools in villages and settlements, and mobile posts would be the teams that would be visiting “hard to reach areas”.

“Because of the maritime travel challenges, we have added an extra week to conduct this drive in the maritime areas. We believe that we will encounter some challenges taking the vaccine down to the maritime areas because of the cold chain storage issue,” Ms Akbar said.

She said the mass vaccination program would also be held on Saturdays for the duration of the six weeks to allow parents and guardians to bring their child to the nearest health facility or any other posts to be vaccinated.

“Particular attention will be given to schools, since there has been cases observed in boarding schools, temporary fix outreach immunisation posts will cover all our schools,” Ms Akbar said.

She said permanent health facilities would serve as distribution and storage posts for all areas within their locations.

Ms Akbar said there would be 53 teams consisting of eight ministry personnel per team that would conduct the mass vaccination.

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