In a recent decree, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) has suspended the use of oral polio vaccine, which is being administered to children at the age of four months.
Instead, a vaccine called ‘infanrix-hexa’ — which contains inactivated poliovirus — should be given to four-month-olds, according to Mohap.
Now listed as part of the National Immunisation Programme, ‘infanrix-hexa’ is a combination vaccine that protects babies not only against polio but five other diseases and complications, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and ‘haemophilus influenzae type b’.
The switch was based on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Global Strategy, which aim to add doses of inactivated poliovirus and reduce oral polio vaccines in immunisation programmes of various countries.
Other immunisation updates
The ministry also issued two other updates that were based on the latest scientific recommendations.
The National Immunisation Programme has updated the administration of pneumococcal vaccine from four to three doses, which should be given at the age of two, four and six months.
Then, the programme added meningitis vaccine for students aged 16 to 18 years and must be given to those in Grade 11.
Dr Nada Al Marzouqi, director of Mohap’s preventive medicine department, urged families to get all the necessary vaccines.
“Vaccination is one of the best interventions to boost immunity against illnesses. We reiterate the importance of getting vaccines to protect yourself and your families.”
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