11 April 2023

Vuka Vuma Vax! Its a part of life!

From vaccine hesitancy to herd immunity, variants to boosters, COVID-19 to measles – there’s a lot to the vaccination conversation in South Africa. A partnership between UNICEF South Africa and Vuselela Media has been training young community journalists to report on the day-to-day vaccination discussion and surface the stories that move it…, Matsoarelo Makuke | Alex FM | Johannesburg, My name is Matsoarelo Makuke and I represented Alex FM in the Vuka Vuma Vax campaign with UNICEF South Africa. As a community journalist, the experience has been awesome. It provided me with an opportunity to work on my skills and tackling questions and how to handle situations when interviewees go out of context.  Engaging with different people…, Sikelela Rollom | Nkqubela FM | Gqeberha, It has been an absolute pleasure for me to represent Nkqubela FM, a community radio station in Gqeberha, for the Vuka Vuma Vax campaign. Through this campaign I had the opportunity to tell the vaccination stories of the people in my community.   The first thing I learned during the training conducted by Mr Mthoba Chapi is the power of using a…, Bukho Ndamase | UCR FM | Mthatha, There's a piece of writing that says, "life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself".   My name is Bukho Ndamse from Mthatha, representing UCR FM. Throughout the training I felt that I was creating myself.   In the past months I have learnt so much during the training. I went from knowing what exactly a vaccine is, and what the…, Llyle Jefferies | Radio K | Cape Town, VUKA VUMA Vax, the campaign that brought together 32 strangers and had them leave as friends. An eventful and knowledge filled campaign aiding the youth and helping spread the word on today's health issues. The first day we all met on Zoom, a screen filled with happy faces and smiles to be all taught by an excellent lecturer, Mthoba Chapi, a man…
13 February 2023

Protection from cervical cancer

What is cervical cancer and HPV?, Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in South Africa, after breast cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in South Africa, particularly among adolescents and women aged 15 to 44.   Over 5,000 new cases of cervical cancer are reported each year in South Africa, with most of these cases being fatal. …, How can I get protected against cervical cancer?, Vaccination against HPV is the most effective prevention method against cervical cancer. Prevention and control of cervical cancer is part of a broad-based Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programme implemented by the national Department of Health.  The World Health Organization recommends that the HPV vaccine is administered to girls between…, How safe and effective is the vaccine?, The HPV vaccine used in South Africa is very safe and effective in preventing the HPV-16 and HPV-18 strains of the virus, which cause most cases of cervical cancer. Millions of girls have received the HPV vaccine without any serious side effects. , Where can I get the HPV vaccine for my child?, In 2014, the South African government introduced free vaccinations against HPV to girls in public schools through the Integrated School Health Programme.   Health officials from the Department of Health visit government schools to carry out the HPV vaccination campaign. In 2023, the campaign aimed to vaccinate all Grade 5 girls who are 9 years and…, What is the human papillomavirus (HPV)?, HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common sexually transmitted infection, which affects most people at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. But there is a vaccine that can prevent these health problems.  , Who can get the human papillomavirus (HPV)?, Both women and men who are sexually active can get HPV. The most common mode of transmission is through sex, but it can also be transmitted through any form of skin-to-skin contact and from mother to child. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.  , Is it possible to tell if a person has HPV just by looking at them?, No. The HPV infection cannot be seen and, in most cases, there are no visible signs., I am pregnant. Will having HPV affect my pregnancy?, If you are pregnant and have HPV, you can get genital warts or develop abnormal cell changes on your cervix. Abnormal cell changes can be found with routine cervical cancer screening. You should undergo routine cervical cancer screening even when you are pregnant. , Are HPV and HIV the same?, No. HPV should not be confused with HIV. They are both viruses, but they are completely different in how they affect the human body.  , Does HPV cause cancer?, HPV can cause cervical cancer and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, penis, or anus. It can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.  , What is cervical cancer?, Cervical cancer is a cancer that affects the cervix, which is the lower part (known as the mouth) of the womb. According to the South African Medical Research Council, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer among women aged 15 to 44 years in South Africa. Cancer is when abnormal cells in the human body start to grow very quickly and cannot…, How can you confirm if a person has cervical cancer?, This depends on what is called the stage of the disease. Women with early-stage cancer may not experience any signals of disease. In these cases, a special test is required to detect if a person has early signs of developing cervical cancer, called a cervical screening test. The cells from the cervix are collected and sent to a laboratory for…, Has the HPV vaccine been thoroughly tested and used before?, The HPV vaccine is safe and most effective when provided from age nine or before girls become sexually active. In South Africa, the HPV vaccination was approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority in 2008 for its efficacy and safety. , Will I get HPV infection from the HPV vaccine?, No. The vaccine is non-infectious, and you will not get HPV infection through vaccination.  , Why should girls be vaccinated against HPV?, The HPV vaccine is important to protect against HPV infection that could lead to cervical cancer later in life.  , How many doses of the HPV vaccine are needed?, Two doses (a minimum of five months apart) are offered free of charge to girls 9 years and older in special schools or in Grade 5 to be fully protected.  , What are the side effects of the HPV vaccine?, Possible side effects include: Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given Fever Dizziness Nausea Headache or feeling tired Muscle or joint pain, Do girls need consent from their parents or caregivers to be vaccinated?, Yes. Parents or caregivers need to provide signed consent for the vaccination of the girls. For consent to be valid, it must be informed, understood and voluntary, and the person consenting must have the capacity to make the decision., Why are only Grade 5 girls being vaccinated during this campaign?, This vaccine is most effective if provided before a person is exposed to the (sexually transmitted) virus. It is registered for use in boys and girls from the age of nine. As the entry requirement for Grade 1 is 6 years, most girls in Grade 5 will be between 9 and 11 years old. Therefore, Grade 5 has been identified as the most suitable grade to…, Who will be conducting the vaccination?, Trained teams of healthcare workers will be administering the vaccination., If a girl or woman does not meet the criteria or missed the HPV school-based vaccination, what can be done to protect her from cervical cancer?, HPV vaccines are available in the private sector from a doctor or pharmacy. However, they are not free of charge. If she is already at risk of having contracted HPV, it is recommended that she has routine screening tests., Can boys get the HPV vaccine?, The school-based HPV vaccination campaign is currently available to girls only. However, boys aged 9 and older, are encouraged to get the HPV vaccine and caregivers should approach their general practitioner to find out more., If my child is in a private school, where can we go to get the HPV vaccine?, If your child is at a school where the government school health teams do not come to provide vaccination and other services (e.g. private and independent schools); please take your child to the doctor who will advise accordingly. 
15 November 2022

Vaccine cold chain storage capacity strengthened

A strong, effective, and well-funded vaccination system helps protect children against childhood diseases and ensures that health systems are as prepared as possible for potential health crises. In 2022 the Government of Japan committed US$2.1 million (ZAR32.7 million) to strengthen vaccine cold chain systems and to build capacity in promoting and…, The Eastern Cape Department of Health, Embassy of Japan and UNICEF visited the Motherwell Community Health Centre in Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth) as part of a facility walk-around to see the cold storage fridges., UNICEF/UN0748886/Peens nurse packing cold storage box for vaccine transportation, Nurse Meltafa from the Motherwell Community Health Centre explains the process of vaccine transport preparation from cold storage., UNICEF/UN0748861/Peens nurse explaining to visitors, Nurse Meltafa from the Motherwell Community Health Centre explains the process of vaccine transport preparation from cold storage., UNICEF/UN0748865/Peens women inspecting cold storage, Corry van der Walt, a pharmacist specialising in public sector pharmacy management and administration, inspects vaccine cold storage at Grey Hospital in Qonce (formerly King William's Town) in the Eastern Cape province., UNICEF/UN0748883/Peens nurse preparing a covid-19 vaccine, SM Fana prepares a COVID-19 vaccination at Grey Hospital in Qonce (formerly King William's Town) in the Eastern Cape province., UNICEF/UN0748860/Peens woman inspecting vaccines that was kept in cold storage nurse packing cold storage box for vaccine transportation nurse explaining to visitors women inspecting cold storage nurse preparing a covid-19 vaccine
03 November 2022

All you need to know about childhood vaccinations

Immunisation is an important and effective health intervention for children. Over the course of history, it has helped keep millions of children protected against infectious and life-threatening diseases. Vaccines have been so effective that some diseases that were once feared are now either eradicated or easily manageable. But, for the first time…, Know your child's immunization schedule, infant-looking-at-vaccine-site A vaccinated child is a healthy child. Vaccines are most effective when they are administered to children at the right age and with the recommended dosage as children are susceptible to certain diseases at certain ages. As an example, polio occurs most frequently in children below the age of 5. Because of this, polio…, Private sector Immunization schedule, At birth, Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) This is a single dose vaccine. Administered via injection on upper arm This vaccine offers protection against tuberculosis. Potential side effects of this vaccine include: Soreness or discharge where the injection was given High temperature Headache Swollen glands under the armpit on the arm that received the vaccine…, 6 Weeks, Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) - 1 This is the second OPV dose taken at 6 weeks. The next dose is taken when your child is is 10 weeks old, and the last dose at 14 weeks old. Administered orally This vaccine protects against the poliovirus which is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can lead to total paralysis. The virus…, 10 Weeks, Pentavalent - 2 The second dose is taken when your child is 10 weeks old and the last dose at 14 weeks old. Administered via injection This vaccine offers protection against Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib. Potential side effects of this vaccine include: Swelling, redness and pain may occur at the site where the injection is…, 14 Weeks, Pentavalent - 3 This is the last Pentavalent vaccine dose to be taken at 14 weeks old. Administered via injection This vaccine offers protection against Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hepatitis B and Hib. Potential side effects of this vaccine include: Swelling, redness and pain may occur at the site where the injection is given. Children may…, 9 to 12 Months, Measles & Rubella (MR-1) The first of two doses of the MR vaccine. The second dose is administered between 16-24 months old. Administered via injection This vaccine offers protection against measles and rubella. Measles is often a severe disease, frequently complicated by middle-ear infection or bronchopneumonia. Rubella causes a mild…, 16 to 24 Months, Measles & Rubella (MR-2) The second of two doses of the MR vaccine to be taken by your child between 16-24 months. Administered via injection The vaccine offers protection against measles and rubella. Measles is an almost invariable clinical experience of childhood, and is often a severe disease, frequently complicated by middle-ear infection…, 5 to 6 Years, Diphtheria Pertussis & Tetanus (DPT) - Booster 2 The second of two doses, DPT vaccine is to be given to your child when they are 5-6 years old. Administered via injection The vaccine offers protection from diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus Potential side effects of this vaccine include: Soreness or swelling around the area of the vaccine shot…, 9 Years, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine (1&2) Delivered in 2 doses (6 months apart) Administered via injection The vaccine provides protection against the Human Papilloma Virus which can cause cervical cancer. Possible side effects include: Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given. Fever Dizziness Nausea Headache or feeling…, 10 Years, Tetanus & adult Diphtheria (Td) This is a single dose vaccine. Administered via injection The vaccine provides protection against tetanus which can be contracted through infected cuts or wounds with the spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death. Most cases occur…, 12 Years, COVID-19 The COVID-19 vaccine is administered as either a single dose (Johnson & Johnson) or a double dose (Pfizer) with recommended follow-up booster doses. Visit  https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/  to register and  https://sacoronavirus.co.za/  for the latest COVID-19 information. Administered via injection. The COVID-19 vaccines are…, 16 Years, Tetanus & adult Diphtheria (Td) This is a single dose vaccine. Administered via injection The vaccine provides protection against tetanus which can be contracted through infected cuts or wounds with the spores of the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Diphtheria can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death. Most cases occur…, Department of Health immunization schedule, At birth, Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) This is a single dose vaccine. Administered via injection on upper right arm This vaccine offers protection against tuberculosis, which is a disease that can affect people of all ages. TB causes long bouts of coughing, chest pain, night sweats, weight loss and even death if left untreated. In young children, the TB…, 6 Weeks, Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) - 1 This is the second and final dose of OPV, taken at 6 weeks. It is administered via drops by mouth. This vaccine protects against the poliovirus which is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can lead to total paralysis. The virus primarily affects children 5 years and below. Oral Polio Vaccine…, 10 Weeks, DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV (2) This is the second dose of DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV. The first dose is given at 6 weeks old. The third dose is given at 14 weeks old and the last dose at 18 months old. It is administered via injection in the left thigh This is a six in one vaccine. It offers protection against Diphtheria. Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (Whooping Cough…, 14 Weeks, DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV (3) This is the third dose of DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV. The first dose is given at 6 weeks old. The second dose is given at 10 weeks old and the last dose at 18 months old. Administered via injection in left thigh This is a six in one vaccine. It offers protection against Diphtheria. Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Polio (…, 6 Months, Measles Vaccine (1) The first dose of two measles vaccine doses is given at 6 months, and the second dose at 12 months. It is administered via injection in the left thigh This vaccine protects against becoming infected with measles, a virus which causes high fever and a rash and can lead to diarrhoea and dehydration, deafness, eye complications,…, 9 Months, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) - 3 This is the last of three doses of the PCV. The first dose is given when your child is  6 weeks old, and the second dose at 14 weeks old. Administered via injection in the right thigh This vaccine offers protection against meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia as well as to milder infections such as…, 12 Months, Measles Vaccine (2) This is the second of two measles vaccine doses. The first is given at six months. It is administered via injection in right arm This vaccine protects against becoming infected with measles, a virus which causes high fever and a rash and can lead to diarrhoea and dehydration, deafness, eye complications, pneumonia, brain damage…, 18 Months, DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV (4) This is the fourth dose of DTaP-IPV-Hib-HBV.  The first dose is given at 6 weeks old. The second dose is given at 10 weeks old and the third dose at 14 weeks old. It is administered via injection in left arm. This is a six in one vaccine. It offers protection against Diphtheria. Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (Whooping Cough),…, 6 Years, Td Vaccine (1) - Tetanus and reduced strength of Diphtheria Vaccine booster The first dose of two Td booster doses. The second dose is given at 12 years old Administered via injection in the left arm This vaccine offers additional protection against Tetanus and Diphtheria because immunity to these diseases decreases with time. Diphtheria is a…, 9 Years, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine (1&2) Delivered in 2 doses (6 months apart) Administered via injection The vaccine provides protection against the Human Papilloma Virus which can cause cervical cancer. Possible side effects include: Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given. Fever Dizziness Nausea Headache or feeling…, 12 Years, Td Vaccine (2) - Tetanus and reduced strength of Diphtheria Vaccine booster This is the second of 2 Td booster doses. The first is given at six years old Administered via injection in the left arm This vaccine offers additional protection against Tetanus and Diphtheria because immunity to these diseases decreases with time. Diphtheria is a…, Read more
03 November 2022

What you need to know about measles

What is measles?, Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. It spreads easily and can be fatal for small children. Due to a decrease in children vaccinated for measles, there have been measles outbreaks reported recently in some provinces in South Africa, with several cases identified. We’ve put together all you need to know about measles and how to…, SCHOOL-BASED VACCINATION CAMPAIGN, The HPV school-based vaccination programme takes place at the same time as the national measles campaign – which is also administered in schools. It is safe for a girl to get the HPV vaccine and the measles vaccine at the same time., Causes and symptoms of measles, Measles is a highly contagious disease. About one in every four people who get measles will be hospitalized. Measles typically starts with an elevated fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, and then a rash appears three to five days later. Coughing and sneezing allow the virus to spread through the air and onto surfaces, infecting others if…, When can a person spread the measles virus?, A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days. Measles spreads in various ways: By airborne respiratory droplets (coughs or sneezes). By saliva (kissing or shared drinks). By touching a contaminated surface. By skin-to-…, What happens when a child gets measles?, Most children who have measles are sick for less than a week, and should start to feel better about two days after the rash appears. The cough may persist for two weeks. Sometimes, children may get ear infections, pneumonia or diarrhoea and vomiting when they have measles. In some cases, measles can cause severe complications and secondary…, What to do if a child has measles?, Measles requires a medical diagnosis by a doctor or clinic staff. Call your health care provider to get tested if you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles, or if you or your child has a rash that looks like measles. There's no treatment to get rid of an established measles infection, but medication may be provided to reduce the…, How can measles be prevented?, The MeasBio vaccine is a routine Measles vaccination that children in South Africa receive. It is given in 2 doses, with the first dose administered at 6 months and the second (booster) dose administered at 12 months. This is part of the routine immunization available free at public health facilities. Private clinics also offer the measles-mumps-…, Limiting the spread of measles, Having the right cleaning and hygiene products and procedures in place can help reduce the risk of a measles outbreak in your home or facility. Whether you oversee a school, retail store, restaurant, office building or another type of facility, consider these strategies for keeping measles in check: Disinfection and cleaning essentials. Supplies…, Useful links for more information, Childhood routine immunization schedule HPV school-based vaccination programme The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) Centre for Disease Control  (CDC) Last updated: 14 February 2023