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Jul 26 2013

New inoculations cover 98% of KSA

Friday 26 July 2013

The Ministry of Health has introduced new vaccines to immunize children from dangerous infectious diseases. The immunization campaign started in January, with the ministry administering vaccines against rotavirus for infants and young children, meningitis (meningococcal meningitis) and a dose of the triple viral vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella at all primary health care centers in the Kingdom. Ziad Al-Memish, undersecretary for public health at the ministry, confirmed that the ministry has distributed the new vaccines to all health centers.

He said the ministry's coverage of the country is 98 percent, making it one of the leading countries in this area. He said the ministry wants to eliminate diseases such as polio and tetanus. "We are close to eliminating measles, rubella and mumps most probably by 2015, and reducing rates of infections from other diseases by boosting immunization," he said. Al-Memish said the inoculations are in line with recommendations of the World Health Organization and the National Immunization Technical Advisory Committee, after evaluating the danger posed by the targeted diseases in the Kingdom.

Aisha Al-Shammari, director of the expanded national immunization program, said the objective of the new vaccines is to protect children from acute intestinal flu caused by rotavirus. The vaccine is administered to infants orally in two doses, first at the age of two months and then at the age of four months, she said. The meningitis vaccine is administered through injection, with the first injection given at the age of nine months and a second at the age of one year. In addition, two vaccines are administered, one at 12 months and the second before the child goes to school. The triple viral vaccine is given at the age of 18 months.

© Arab News 2013

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