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Anambra Govt. attributes low immunisation uptake to residents COVID-19 perception

By News Desk
After accessing the response of Anambra residents to the ongoing children immunisation exercise, the State Government has disclosed that the low uptake recorded in the exercise was due to misconception on immunisation and contraction of coronavirus in the country.
It added that the misinformation which had resulted in panic among residents was that they could be infected by the virus when health workers administer the vaccine on their childrens in the state.
The Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primarily Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, expressed the government displeasure at a Media Orientation on Measles immunisation awareness organised by the Agency in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in Awka.
Ezenyimulu said that if mothers and caregivers were not properly enlightened on the importance of vaccinating their children, it might make the children susceptible to diseases that could claim their lives in the state.
According to her, the COVID-19 pandemic should never be an excuse for not having the children immunised. Unfortunately, we are experiencing COVID-19 pandemic and also the rumoured controversial COVID-19  vaccine. This is discouraging caregivers from vaccinating their children. I want to inform you that no vaccines have been developed for Coronavirus in the entire world.
 “Immunisation is an essential health service and COVID-19 does not stop it. On the national dashboad, we saw a decline in the number of vaccinated children in the state due to misinformation and fear.
“I am appealing to mothers and caregivers that even in the face of the pandemic, ensure you take your children for their routine immunisation because the children need it to stay healthy. This COVID-19 might stay with us for a long time and you don’t want to wait till it’s over before you immunise your child,  “she added.
Also speaking, Director,  Disease Control and Immunisation at the agency, Dr Nnamdi  Uliagbafusi, argued that subjecting children to immunisation was key to improving the health and welfare.
Uliagbafusi explained that vaccines protect children from diseases and death caused by measles, diphtheria, hepatitis B, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, yellow fever, pneumonia, and meningitis.
“The immunisation services are free at our healthcare centres,  the vaccines are safe and effective and are to be administered to children irrespective of their previous immunisation status, “he added.
In her presentation, the state immunisation officer, Nkechi Onwuvunka who spoke on various aspects of vaccine-preventable diseases, pleaded with caregivers to ensure their children take the second dose of the  measles vaccine.
She explained that children were formerly immunised against measles at nine months but it was discovered that only about 85 percent of children immunised were protected.
“We used to give the first dose of measles vaccine  at nine months but studies have shown that  a boost is necessary for total prevention. The second dose given at 15 months is to boost immunity. It was realised that only 85 per cent of the children developed immunity with only one dose, so a second dose was introduced in 2019  to take care of the remaining 15 per cent”, she said.
In his remarks,  UNICEF Consultant in Anambra, Dr Diden Gbofeyin, urged the media, community leaders and parents to help diseminate importance of immunisation to increase the uptake on immunisation to protect the children from deadly diseases.

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