The Sunday Mail
Government has rescheduled administration of the typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) to January 2019, The Sunday Mail has learnt.
The vaccination comes as a secondary measure to protect populations living in high risk areas against waterborne diseases after a similar programme to reduce cases of cholera saw over 950 000 people being vaccinated recently.
The TCV roll-out was meant to be start before the onset of the 2018-19 summer rains to avoid a seasonal increase in water-borne diseases.
However, the vaccine supplier faced challenges in delivering the consignment on time and it is now expected to be available early next month.
Deputy Director for Epidemiology and Disease Control (Communicable Diseases) in the Health and Child Care Ministry, Dr Isaac Phiri said, “The ministry had planned to deploy TCV this November targeting Mbare, Glen View, Kuwadzana and other highly affected suburbs in Harare.
“Unfortunately, due to the late delivery of the vaccines, the campaign has been moved to January 2019 when schools reopen. The supplier of the vaccine had last minute logistical challenges that made it impossible to deliver the TCV on time.”
Dr Phiri said the campaign would target over 300 000 people aged between nine months and 45 years in Mbare, and between nine months and 15 years in other areas.
“Mbare alone has a high attack rate of 30 people per 1 000. This suburb is the most affected, accounting for over 60 percent of cases reported in 2018,” he said.
“The targeted age groups are the most active and outgoing and will benefit more as they easily develop immunity to salmonella typhi. By protecting this group, the entire community will benefit from what is called head immunity or protection of the community.”
The $700 000 TCV campaign is supported by World Health Organisation, Global Vaccination Alliance, Unicef, and Médecins Sans Frontières.
Government and its partners also intend to roll out vaccination in the National Expanded Program on Immunisation next year, targeting children aged two and below.
Failure by local authorities, especially in Harare, have been blamed for recurrent water-borne disease outbreaks.