Health, Africa

Burundi launches mass measles vaccination initiative

More than 17,000 children to be vaccinated in Cibitoke province amid global coronavirus pandemic

James Tasamba   | 13.04.2020
Burundi launches mass measles vaccination initiative

KIGALI, Rwanda 

Burundi on Monday launched a measles vaccination initiative aiming to immunize more than 17,000 children in the northwest of the country.

The initiative hopes to reach children between nine months and 15 years old in Cibitoke province, local medical officer Dr. Norbert Mugabo told reporters.

He added that the vaccination effort would continue until April 17, following a measles outbreak that has infected more than 300 children in the province.

Mugabo appealed to parents to embrace the vaccination for their children and ignore people seeking to dissuade them on false claims.

"This vaccination comes during unusual circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. We have a big challenge in convincing people after rumors circulated that a vaccine against COVID-19 would be tested in Burundi. This is not true and the Ministry of Health has stressed that Burundi will never accept these tests," he told reporters.

"Coronavirus vaccine is yet to be found. We must not forget that measles is rampant in Cibitoke, we must, therefore, embrace vaccination to saves the lives of our children."

The first case of measles in the country was reported in November 2019 in a Congolese refugee transit camp in Cishemere in the Rugombo commune.

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