Measels campaign delayed in Joburg

The City of Johannesburg’s Health and Social Development MMC, Dr Mpho Phalatse has blamed the Gauteng Provincial Health Department for delays to the Measles Vaccination Campaign, initially set to start on 2 May.

Phalatse said the department has been circulating ‘misleading reports’ that its 24-day, province-wide measles immunisation campaign has kicked off.

The campaign was scheduled following the initially confirmed measles cases reported in Johannesburg on 15 March.

Phalatse said the provincial health department has not delivered all the resources necessary for the campaign and is awaiting intervention from the Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.

Read: Measles outbreak: Mass vaccination campaign for Gauteng

“An official letter confirming the campaign was received on 26 April, one working day before the campaign was due to [start], announcing campaign dates as the 2nd to the 26th of May. Before then, no campaign resources had been provided to the Municipal Health Department,” the MMC said.

The Provincial Health Department requested that municipalities in Gauteng conduct an Emergency Measles Campaign targeting children aged between six months and five years following the initial outbreak in March.

Phalatse said the Johannesburg Health District has been requested to extend immunisation to children up to 15 years old in order to increase herd immunity, a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.

The City, Phalatse said, anticipates being ready by 15 May, provided all the necessary resources are in place.

The Gauteng Health Department has been contacted for comment and the story will be updated as soon as it is received.

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Chantelle Fourie

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