ALL IS STILL WELL

The public has been assured that infants in the country are safe.

This comes after the Ministry of Health and Wellness experienced shortage of vaccines for children under the age of five.

Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry, Dr Christopher Nyanga, said the situation is under control.


"It is true that in the recent past the ministry has been experiencing a serious shortage of medications in its facilities including those for children. The ministry continues to source medications and has been receiving many medications including children vaccines," he said.

Dr Nyanga warned that Botswana also faced the threat of a Measles outbreak, as has happened in Zimbabwe, but said they continue to guard the situation closely.

"The ministry is actively strengthening its health system for better preparedness and response in the event of an outbreak," he said, noting that currently Botswana has enough Measles Rubella vaccine doses.

The ministry is also conducting surveillance trainings for health care workers in order to intensify education and capacity building on the vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) surveillance system.

He said that vaccines like Pneumococcal and others have been in short supply, which means that some children may have missed their scheduled doses. However, Dr Nyanga assured parents and encouraged them not to

worry as the children will still benefit from the vaccines until they are five-years-old.

"Although vaccines have to be taken per schedule, a child still benefits even when they get a dose outside the schedule. The only difference is that they don’t get the same benefit like when they get it on schedule," he explained.

Parents and anybody who has missed a dose for any reason is advised to get a dose as soon as possible. In Botswana most of vaccines are given to a child up to the age of five years, Dr Nyanga clarified, adding that all children therefore have a chance to get a dose including defaulters.

He said at present all vaccines are available except pneumococcal vaccine which has just arrived and is undergoing clearance before it can be rolled out for use. He also encouraged districts to conduct mop up campaigns, to give all children who missed doses an opportunity to get their doses, as well as to avoid possibility of outbreaks due to lack of vaccines.