School Vaccination Drive Begins Today

February 18, 2018

The Peninsula -- With Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) National School Vaccination campaign set to kick off tomorrow, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has highlighted the importance of immunization and personal hygiene in controlling infectious and communicable diseases.


Dr Soha Al Bayat, Head of Vaccination Unit, Health Protection and Communicable Disease Control Department at the MoPH, said that vaccination is the best-proven measure to protect children and adults from infectious and communicable diseases.


“Through research by the World Health Organisation, it has been proven that millions of deaths have been prevented by vaccines and communicable diseases have been on a decrease in many countries. 


Some countries have been able to eliminate diseases like measles because of vaccination. Personal hygiene also plays a major role in preventing some infectious diseases,” she said, speaking recently on the sidelines of a workshop related to upcoming Tdap National School Vaccination campaign for students in the tenth grade.


“If we are committed as a community, we can achieve success and help in eliminating diseases. One of our aims in having vaccination campaigns is to control and eliminate diseases from the community and world,” she added.  The standard childhood vaccination schedule is administrated from the age of one. But two vaccines are given at birth for infants to prevent tuberculosis and hepatitis. Also, several vaccinations are needed to be repeated and others are given upon requirements such as travel plans and spread of seasonal flu.


MOPH will start the eighth annual Tdap campaign today and it will continue for three weeks aiming at vaccinating 9,000 students in independent and private schools. It will be administrated as booster dose as when a child reaches adolescent age the immune level induced by the vaccine given at childhood becomes weak.


Meanwhile, Dr  Al Bayat also highlighted that  simple measures followed in keeping personal hygiene will help in preventing spreading of infections. “Vaccine is the number one measure to protect children and adults from infectious and communicable diseases. But maintaining personal hygiene like washing hands regularly with soap and water plays a major role as well. We encourage people to start focusing on simple measures and be safe from infections. At home, we clean toilets, sometimes more than once a day, because we know there are germs. But there are much more germs on mobile phones, laptops and desktops and such devices also should be cleaned regularly,” she said.


Dr Al Bayat further said that children should be taught to adopt certain habits such as cough and sneeze etiquette in order to prevent infections spreading.


“Some people think that children don’t understand. But it’s wrong and the best time to teach a habit to anybody is very young age,” she added.


Further, children and staff if diagnosed with infections or communicable diseases should avoid going to school.


Dr Al Bayat said, “Sick children and staff should avoid going to school. If they had severe illnesses, fever, rash or any other unusual symptoms should see a physician before returning to school and ensure that they are fully cured.”


Additionally, the MOPH should be notified of any suspected out breaks of fever, rashes and any other unusual symptoms.