Protect Your Preschooler from Pneumococcal Diseases
Western Cape Government Health has today launched a four-month campaign to ensure that all children between 18 months and three years old, as well as high-risk children under six, receive the best possible protection from Pneumoccocal diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia, in the form of the Prevenar 13 vaccine.
This drive is aimed at providing a booster dose of Prevenar 13 which offers a broader spectrum of protection than the previously used Prevenar 7. Children receive this vaccination at their routine clinic visits at six and 14 weeks and again at nine months. The booster dose will be administered to all children between 18 months and three years. High-risk children from the age of 18 months and under six years will receive two doses, eight weeks apart, high-risk children include those who are living with HIV or who have illnesses such as heart and kidney failure.
To ensure the best possible coverage and to assist working parents, mobile teams will be visiting crechés and day care centres throughout the province. All known centres have or will receive a permission slip for parents to complete. It is vital that the form be signed by the parent or guardian and returned to the school before the mobile team's visit. Should the form not be completed, it will be the parents' responsibility to take the child to their nearest clinic and ensure vaccination. Parents whose children do not attend a creché should take their children to their local clinic, where child health services are rendered.
The campaign will run from 1 February 2012 to 31 May 2012.
The Western Cape has allocated 180 240 doses of vaccine to administer during this campaign. The allocated quantity is based on the number of children between the ages of 18 and 35 months to receive one dose and children in the high-risk categories with two doses. The following quantities have been allocated to districts across the province:
Metro - 114 184
Cape Winelands - 23 994
Karoo - 1 995
Eden - 23 594
Overberg - 6 907
West Coast - 9 566
Facts about Pneummoccal Disease:
- The illness kills approximately 1 million children under the age of five annually.
- The more advanced Prevenar 13 protects children against 13 strains of meningitis, pneumonia and bacteraemia as opposed to the previously used vaccination Prevenar 7.
- Children who are at high risk include those living with HIV, diabetes, heart disease and those receiving immunosuppresssive drugs or radiation therapy.
- Children under the age of 18 months have already been administered the new vaccine as part of their routine clinic visits; it is therefore not necessary for them to receive the booster dose.