THE Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine has been administered to over 50 000 people in Harare since Monday.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
UNICEF Zimbabwe tweeted that the targeted suburbs are currently receiving the vaccination.
“The Typhoid Conjugate Vaccination Campaign is currently ongoing in Mbare, Mufakose, Kuwadzana, Hatcliffe, Budiriro, Hopley, Glen Norah, Dzivarasekwa and Glen View. Over 50,000 have been vaccinated already. Get vaccinated today,” encouraged the organisation.
The campaign running until 4 March is targeting children aged 6 months to 15 years old.
“In Mbare district, where the disease has impacted adult populations, the campaign will target children as well as adults up to 45 years old. The campaign will mainly be funded by Gavi, with some additional funding from WHO, and carried out by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health, with support from WHO and CDC,” said GAVI in a statement.
This is the first campaign in Africa using the typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) which, unlike other typhoid vaccines, can be administered to young children and has long-lasting immunity.
Around one in five cases in Harare are estimated to be resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin – the first line of defence against the disease – with an alarming 73% resistance reported in certain areas. With drug resistant genes circulating, there is a risk that resistance could grow.
“While typhoid vaccines have existed for over a century, previously they could only offer short term protection and couldn’t be used to protect those most vulnerable to this severe disease: young children,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “These new conjugate vaccines will be a game-changer, not only in the battle against typhoid but also in the global effort to tackle drug resistance. The fact that they are now ready to be used to contain this devastating outbreak in Zimbabwe is fantastic news.”