Poised to completely protect every child against measles infection, the Federal Government has launched a second dose of measles vaccination at 15 months in ensuring that every child is double saved from the disease.
Announcing the commencement of the second dose of measles vaccination on Tuesday, the Executive Director/CEO National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the second dose at 15 months is an addition to the usual first dose of Measles vaccine at nine months.
Shuaib, who spoke through a press statement obtained by Pharmanewsonline stressed the essence of the second dose of the vaccine, in the 19 northern states and the FCT, saying it is to safeguard children from the attack of the disease.
“Dear Nigerians, from the 7th of December 2020, the Federal Government will be introducing measles second dose at 15 months into the routine immunization schedule in 19 states and the FCT.
“The second dose of measles vaccination is given to every child at 15 months as a second opportunity to fully protect children against the deadly measles disease”, he stated.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, recent report shows that Nigeria is among the 45 countries that account for 94 per cent of the deaths due to measles worldwide. Although dearth of data has fraught the availability of population based prevalence, but some studies from tertiary hospitals showed the proportion of measles from pediatric admissions stands at between 1.3-5.1 per cent.
Previous studies have also established that measles is an endemic disease in Nigeria, with recurrent outbreaks occurring at irregular intervals. Measles transmission in Nigeria occurs through all months of the year, but peaks in the dry season. It transmission also sometimes occurs immediately after the end of the rainy season and often reaches epidemic proportions in the dry season. Nigeria is one of only ten countries in the world with measles vaccine coverage of less than 50 per cent.
Encouraging parents to make their children available for vaccination, the NPHCDA CEO assured them that best quality vaccine will be administered on their wards without any adulteration.
“Apart from the usual first dose of measles at nine (9) months old, all children will be vaccinated at 15 months with a SECOND DOSE of measles vaccine.
“I want to assure you that vaccines given to our children are potent, safe and effective. At the NPHCDA, we will continue to do our best to ensure our children are protected from vaccine – preventable diseases. We call on parents and caregivers to always do the needful.
“As parents, we must forsake all doubts and visit the nearest health facility or vaccination post to ensure our children are vaccinated. I have vaccinated my children and urge you to do the same”, he emphasized.