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Thursday, January 20, 2011

UAE launches single infant vaccination for 6 diseases

By PMA RASHEED 
20 Jan 2011, The Gulf Today

The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) on Wednesday introduced a nationwide infant immunisation programme, in which six vaccines for different diseases have been combined together into one single shot of injection to be administered at two months of age.
The one-time injection will maximise the immunisation coverage from six types of diseases including Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenza Type-B, Hepatitis B and Poliomyelitis, said a senior MoH official at a vaccination training programme in Sharjah.
Dr Mahmoud Fikri, assistant undersecretary for Health Policies at the MoH, indicated that infants across the country will be provided with the six-in-one hexavalent vaccine from February onwards at primary health centres or community and preventive medicine facilities of the ministry.
"The UAE is the first country in the Gulf region to introduce the combined infants' vaccination programme. The private sector hospitals and clinics should follow the ministry initiative of combined vaccination as part of the national immunisation programme 2011," he added.
"With simplicity of administration or improved compliance and effectiveness, the free-of-charge combined vaccination reduces the anxiety of parents as it lessens pain felt by babies, while it provides the same degree of protection from the diseases," elaborated Dr Fikri.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, director of Sharjah Medical District, said that the workshop has been conducted for the vaccination staff members of the public sector across the seven Emirates to give them hands-on training on the methods of storage, preparing and administering the combined vaccine.
"It also focused on updating their knowledge on the new vaccine based on modern scientific developments and recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO)," he added.
"The workshop also highlighted the methods of dealing with mothers and creating awareness among them on the national vaccination programme," said Al Qasimi.
Dr Ibrahim Al Qadi, director of Preventive Medicine Department at the MoH, said that the programme is continuously reviewed and updated to cope with the advances in the field of immunology.
"As the hexavalent vaccine provides protection against six diseases with one single injection, it reduces the number of visits to the health centres," he added.
According to him, it makes easier for the mothers to complete all scheduled immunisations on time without delays.
Dr Gamil M Tourky, technical director of Preventive Medicine in Sharjah, said that the NIP chart for the details of childhood vaccination until five years of age would be modified in accordance with the new vaccine programme.
"The hexavalent vaccine, which is being introduced in different phases, will replace the second and third doses of Pentavalent vaccine which is administered at end of the fourth and sixth month. This will happen when the oral polio vaccine is replaced by the intramuscular, injectable polio vaccine which is incorporated in the hexavalent vaccine," Dr Tourky elaborated.

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