Mass Immunisation Campaign against Measles and Rubella


The Zimbabwe programme for Immunisation in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, in cooperation with WHO, UNICEF, MCHIP, the GAVI Alliance and Rotary, is carrying out the mass immunisation of all children in Zimbabwe between the ages of 6 months and 15 years against Measles, and Rubella, and providing Vitamin A supplementation, between the 28th September and 2 October 2015. All parents, carers and schools are requested to ensure that all children within their responsibility are taken for immunisation. There is no charge for the vaccination.
Details of the many immunisation centres in your area can be obtained from any government Health facility.

The reason for Measles Vaccination
Measles can be prevented with the MR or MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. One dose of MMR vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, and two doses are about 97% effective. In the United States, widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era. Since 2000, when measles was declared eliminated from the U.S., the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 668 people in 2014. Most of these originated outside the country or were linked to a case that originated outside the country.
Measles is still common in other countries. The virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in areas where people are not vaccinated. Worldwide, an estimated 20 million people get measles and 146,000 people die from the disease each year—that equals about 400 deaths every day or about 17 deaths every hour.
(Courtesy of the US Center for Disease Control)

The Reasons for Rubella Vaccination
Key facts
• Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.
• Rubella infection in pregnant women may cause fetal death or congenital defects known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).
• Worldwide, over 100 000 babies are born with CRS every year.
• There is no specific treatment for rubella but the disease is preventable by vaccination.
The rubella virus is transmitted by airborne droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known host.

Children with CRS can suffer hearing impairments, eye and heart defects and other lifelong disabilities, including autism, diabetes mellitus and thyroid dysfunction – many of which require costly therapy, surgeries and other expensive care.

Rubella can be prevented by the MR or MMR vaccine, as noted above. The rubella vaccine is a live attenuated strain that has been in use for more than 40 years. A single dose gives more than 95% long-lasting immunity, which is similar to that induced by natural infection.

Mass immunization campaigns in the Region of the Americas involving more than 250 million adolescents and adults did not identify any serious adverse reactions associated with the vaccine.
(Courtesy of WHO)