MOH News
MOH to Launch Pneumococcal Vaccinations Campaign for Children
29 January 2015
In its quest to preserve the health and safety of the future generations, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will launch next Sunday a vaccination campaign of a catch-up dose against pneumococci (streptococcus pneumonia) which will last for three months in all regions and provinces of the Kingdom.
The Deputy Minister of Health for Public Health, Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, explained that the Ministry of Health seeks to achieve the highest standards of protection for children. To that end, it's going to launch, on 12th Rabei II up to 11th Rajab,1436 H, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccination campaign to boost protection - Allah willing - against the fatal streptococcus pneumonia bacteria among children.
On her part, the Supervisor of the National Immunization Program, Dr. Aesha Ash-Shammari, said, "This campaign targets children aged 2-5 years old with a catch-up dose of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), to be taken regardless of the previous vaccinations for providing protection against the 13 most common types of pneumococcal bacteria." She explained that there are more than 90 types of streptococcus pneumonia, out of which 13 types are the most common, usually affecting infants and children under five. They can cause three serious types of streptococcus pneumonia diseases, including meningitis, inflammation of the membranes of the brain, pneumonia and bacteremia. These diseases might cause severe damage to the brain and main organs of the body, and may also lead to permanent disabilities, hearing loss or death.
Within the same vein, Ash-Shammari revealed that these diseases  affect children through the close contact with adults and other children carrying disease-causing bacteria, or by using objects contaminated with bacteria such as (cups, tooth brushes, toys, books and putting their hands into their mouths). 
Further, she emphasized that PCV13 vaccine, just like any other vaccine taken by children as part of the National Immunization Program, is secure, and could be safely taken with any other vaccines. She noted that PCV13 vaccine has been introduced recently within the basic vaccines to be taken by children aged 2, 4, 6 and 12 months. It provides broader protection - Allah willing - against the most common and serious types than the previous vaccines (PCV7, PCV10). “Studies have proven that the number of bacteria types not covered by the previous vaccines is growing, and that the bacteria may develop resistance against the antibiotics, leading to the failure of treatment, and hence of children's recovery,” said Dr. Ash-Shammari.
It's worth mentioning here that MOH is urging the parents of children aged 2-5 years old to support the Ministry’s efforts, and to vaccinate their children with the PCV13 catch-up dose. It is available for free at all the MOH’s primary healthcare centers.

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