Babies in Limpopo missing vaccinations due to shortages in vaccines

Some babies have not yet received a single vaccine dose since their birth, because hospitals and clinics in Limpopo have run out of essential vaccines.  Mothers say they were turned back at various clinics and hospitals for months because there are no vaccines. Babies need to be vaccinated to protect them from diseases such as TB and polio.

The Limpopo Health Department said it has received vaccines, which will be available at health facilities from Monday.

A mother of two from Westernburg, outside Polokwane, who refused to be named, said she was turned back from Rethabile Clinic in Limpopo. She said she went to the clinic for a vaccine for her son, who is one-year-and-six months old and for her four-month-old daughter. She says her son has missed several vaccines, while her daughter has never had even a single vaccine since her birth.

“I wanted the vaccine for my children, two babies, one year and six months and my baby of  four months old, she hasn’t received any injection, not even the birth injection. They don’t have and they don’t know when they will receive those injections. I feel very sad, I’m scared that my baby might get sick because the immune system is not strong to fight any virus because she is not injected and I really don’t know what to do,” said the mother.

Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba said they have procured enough children’s vaccines for the next two months. She also said they will distribute the vaccines throughout the weekend to ensure that all health facilities start vaccinating children on Monday.

“We have enough stock now that is going to cover us until the end of the financial year,  which is March, meaning we will start ordering around March for the stock that will assist us in the first quarter of the 2021-2022 financial year. As it is now, in the next three months, there won’t be a child going to the clinic and not getting vaccinated. We have been able to procure stock of around 35 million.”

General practitioner, Mulingoni Makhwanya said children who miss vaccinations are prone to disease. He said catch-up vaccination becomes useless in preventing some of the diseases.

“At birth, you get a vaccine BCG which prevents the child from getting things like tuberculosis. If they are not vaccinated they become vulnerable, they are prone to have rubella, they are prone to have hypothesis, they are prone to have any type of flu that can come across,” said Makhwanya.

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