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Epidemiologist Affirms Vaccine’s Effectiveness in Disease Prevention

A Nigerian Epidemiologist, Dr Muhammad Balogun, has stressed the efficacy of vaccines in preventing diseases.

He made this known on Thursday in Abuja at a session on “Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases and Contextual Reporting during the Africa Disease Reporting Fellowship (ADReF) for journalists reporting health in Africa.”

Balogun, a Resident Advisor, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, African Field Epidemiology Network, said routine immunization, therefore, goes a long way in keeping diseases in check.

He added “That is why we have routine immunisation, we don’t wait for any measles outbreak to happen, we don’t wait for Diphtheria, it is routine once a child is born, there is a schedule of the different vaccines that they will get.

“However, in spite of availability of vaccines, there is hesitancy, as some people will not present their children for vaccination and sometimes maybe the vaccines have not been well kept and so do not work.

“Once there is disease outbreak, you do a campaign, vaccination. We do that for things like meningitis, measles and polio and others, and for meningitis, the good news is that we now have a new vaccine — Pentavalent.

“It can deal with the three main meningitis stereotypes but also to other bacterial pathogens which eventually we are going to routinise.

“So, we are starting the first phase this year and subsequently, it’s going to be part of the routine immunisation so that we can end meningitis completely.”

On the prevalence of Lassa fever in parts of the country, the epidemiologist said “A vaccine had been developed, and very soon, a trial would be conducted to ascertain its efficacy.”

He said many researches were carried out about the disease over the years, but rodent control had been ineffective.

He added that due to the level of poverty of people in areas where the disease is endemic, it had been difficult to institute control measures individually.

To bring the disease under control, he said, efforts were on to develop a magic bullet approach which would solve the problem.

“Just the way smallpox and polio were eradicated through immunisation, there is a vaccine now for Lassa fever.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the six-week fellowship is aimed at sharpening the skills of journalists in disease reporting from the African perspective. (NAN)

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