PRETORIA, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has warned that his department may not achieve set targets on vaccination of South African children against preventable diseases if anti-vaccine lobby groups continue to mislead parents about the efficacy of immunization.
Following recent protests by some communities in different parts of the country, who have recently experienced a measles outbreak, Motsoaledi said here Thursday that the the department had targeted to reach more than five million children from the age of six months to five years this year under its measles vaccination campaign and routine services.
However, the department only managed to achieve 80 per cent of the targets as a result of various factors, including anti-vaccine lobby groups and unco-operative parents, who refuse to sign consent forms to permit healthcare workers to vaccinate their children.
The Minister said the department continued to engage with various community leaders in the affected areas to convince parents and caregivers to co-operate with healthcare workers to have their children vaccinated to protect them against preventable deadly diseases.
"Vaccine refusal endangers everyone, not just the unvaccinated children. Thus, you must prioritise the health and well-being of your kids by taking them to the nearest clinic or healthcare provider to ensure that are up-to-date with vaccination, Motsoaledi said.
Measles is a highly infectious illness with the potential for serious and life-threatening complications. Individuals who never had measles and those who are unvaccinated or are incompletely vaccinated may be at risk of measles when visiting areas with measles cases.
Immunisation, which is part of the country's programmes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on good health and wellbeing, remains one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions, and is widely recognized as critical to achieving the SDGs.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK