FAQ's 2016 Supplementary Immunisation Campaign | Western Cape Government


FAQ's 2016 Supplementary Immunisation Campaign

21 October 2016

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that countries conduct supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) every 3 to 4 years. In addition, the WHO recommends that such opportunities be used to provide additional child survival interventions (e.g. Vitamin A).

The aim of these SIAs is to increase population immunity by affording vaccination opportunities to all children in a specific age range thus reducing the number of susceptible children in the population based on the country’s needs and priorities.

South Africa plans to conduct an integrated polio campaign achieving at least 90% oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage in children aged 0 months – 59 months. Other integrated interventions are targeted for 80% coverage, namely supplementation of Vitamin A to children between ages 12 – 59 months and provision of Mebendazole to children 24 – 59 months. In addition this integrated campaign will also afford opportunities for nutritional screening in children aged 6 – 59 months by conducting a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) screening test in 15 selected high risk districts based on the Case Fatality Rate for Severe Acute Malnutrition, where results will be used to take appropriate referral action. A holistic approach to child health will be adopted during the integrated campaign to ensure that children are referred for further management of any identified childhood illnesses.

Key messages for the campaign:

  • Take your child to the nearest clinic or immunisation post during the campaign
  • The campaign immunisation doses do not replace the routine immunisation
  • Only children within the targeted age groups will be vaccinated in the campaign, simultaneously therefore:
  • All children from 12 – 59 months MUST receive vitamin A supplementation during the campaign
  • All children from 24 – 59 months MUST receive Mebendazole deworming during the campaign
  • Nutritional screening WILL be conducted in selected districts among children aged 6 – 59 months by doing a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) measurement  and appropriate referrals


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Why do the Western Cape Government Health and virtually all other governments vaccinate individuals?

Vaccines are given to prevent disease later on. If enough people get the vaccine, and there is no incidence of an illness for a long time, the illness is considered eliminated. This is the case with smallpox.


  1. What is a SIA?

SIA is the acronym for Supplementary Immunisation Activity. When additional doses of vaccination are given outside of the normal routine immunisation, this is referred to as Supplementary Immunisation Activity (SIA). In South Africa we also refer to SIAs as campaigns. So this year South Africa will conduct an integrated SIA: polio, deworming, vitamin A and nutritional screening, which might also be referred to as the Integrated Campaign.


  1. What is the purpose of this campaign?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that countries conduct supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) every 3 to 4 years. In addition the WHO recommends that such opportunities be used to provide additional child survival interventions (e.g. Vitamin A).


In South Africa we aim to increase population immunity against measles and polio while also supplementing children with vitamin A and providing them with deworming. This campaign will be taking a holistic approach to child health, thus 15 high-risk districts or sub-districts will also be conducting nutritional screening nationally during this campaign.


  1. Will these immunisations replace the routine immunisations?


No, this only supplements the current vaccinations. Parents must still ensure that their children receive their routine vaccinations.


  1. What do parents need to do to ensure their children are immunised during this campaign?

Parents can take their children to their nearest clinic if they are within the specified age groups. Health teams will also be visiting day-care centres to immunise children. Written consent is required for all the integrated campaign activities at institutions such as crèches, preschools,  children’s homes and day-care centres where parents or caregivers are not present during the service delivery. At all other posts where parents and caregivers bring the children for immunisation, written consent is not needed. Consent is implied.


  1. How is the vaccine given or administered?
  • The polio vaccine is administered by giving two drops of the vaccine into the child’s mouth
  • The Mebendazole deworming is given as chewable tablet
  • Vitamin A is administered as drops into the child’s mouth


  1. What is in the vaccine? Will it make my child ill?

Each vaccine contains different elements, but parents should note that these vaccines are safe and have been proven to be successful in preventing these illnesses. Immunisations prevent infectious diseases like polio.


  1. What are the benefits of these supplementations and immunisations?

The aim of deworming is to prevent worm infestation.


Vitamin A supplements prevent vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is necessary for the healthy growth and development of children. It also promotes good eyesight and helps children to defend themselves against diarrhoea and measles.


The nutritional screenings will help us identify malnourished children and refer them for treatment if necessary.


Parents must note that if the signed consent form has not been returned to the day-care, the child will not be vaccinated.

  1. Will there be any costs involved?

No, the vaccinations during this campaign are free.


  1. Why is it important for my child to be vaccinated against Polio?

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by three closely related viruses — types 1, 2 and 3. Type 2 had been eradicated. Poliovirus is excreted in stools and spreads rapidly from one person to another. Polio mainly affects children under three years of age. There is no cure for polio: its effects are irreversible. Polio can cause paralysis in a matter of hours. It enters the brain and spinal cord and destroys the cells that cause muscles to contract.


One in every 200 children infected with the virus becomes paralysed; any infected child can infect other children. Five to ten per cent of polio cases will die, usually from paralysis of the muscles used for breathing.


Oral Polio Vaccine is used to prevent Polio. The antibodies in the blood protect against disease, while the antibodies in the intestine limit the multiplication of poliovirus. Because it prevents poliovirus from being excreted in the stools, OPV protects the population against polio by limiting the spread of polioviruses.


  1. My daughter is HIV positive. Can she still have the vaccine?

Yes. She will automatically be vaccinated as part of the campaign.


  1. When is the campaign planned for? 

31 October –18 November 2016


Media Enquiries: 

Natasha Peterson

Tel: 028 214 5800

Email: Natasha.Peterson@westerncape.gov.za