Health Launches National Strategic Directions and Introduction of New Vaccines
Health Launches National Strategic Directions and Introduction of New Vaccines8/1/2020
A launching ceremony of the Oman Vaccine Action Plan and the National Measles and Rubella Strategy , in addition to introduction of new vaccines in the national Immunization Program was held today (Wednesday) at the Kempinski Hotel.
The event, held under the theme (together towards better immunization services), was under the auspices of the Minister of Health H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, with the presence of number of their Excellenceis , along with high-ranking officials from the ministry and other governmental and military authorities.
H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, minister of Health stated that launching marked the Ministry’s keen interest exerted in the elimination of communicable diseases emphasizing that the national Immunization Program has been very successful which is signified in attaining the world’s highest rate in the Effective Vaccine Management (EVM) in 2016 . Today, the national immunization schedules included (13) vaccines with more than (99%) coverage rate of all the various vaccines’ doses. Major reduction in children’s morbidity and mortality rates associated with communicable diseases particularly infants and children under five-year of age.
The Health Minister pointed out that in spite of the progress achieved in the elimination and prevention of infectious diseases through the Sultanate’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), the road ahead is still filled with challenges and must prompt even more efforts for establishing strategies and action plans for constant communicable diseases eradication in the country.
Commenting on the National Vaccine Action Plan, the Director General of Disease Surveillance & Control Dr. Saif Al Abri stated that the Plan defines strategic objectives and priority actions for immunization programs to guide efforts to prevent and control vaccine-preventable diseases in the Sultanate within the upcoming five years. It takes into account the country’s epidemic statue, morbidity burden, and priorities, as well the international trends. The strategy is to reach the goals in terms of coverage, access to new vaccines, mortality and disease reduction, ensuring the quality, effectiveness and safety of vaccines through integrating state-of-the-art technology.
The Sultanate has been progressively increasing coverage in immunization and communicable diseases’ eradication and elimination Al Abri added. The event highlighted the introduction and implementation of Hepatitis A vaccine in the routine childhood vaccination schemes; administering the first dose at a 13-month age applicable from February 2020, while the second dose to be provided at 2nd year of life for children born on January 2019.
Furthermore, replace the Meningococcal Polysaccharide vaccine with Meningococcal Conjugate that is given to the pilgrims, endemic countries’ travelers, and some other targeted categories. Compared with the previous vaccine, Meningococcal Conjugate is more effective and provides longer and secure immunity period rather it can be given to all age group above age 9 months.
As the Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region has declared that Oman is measles and rubella-free country, in an event held at Amman, Jordan, 15-16 May 2019, the launching of National Measles and Rubella strategy maintains this national achievement keeping the Sultanate free from Measles and Rubella outbreaks. This can be reached through maintaining high coverage rates and strengthening the national immunization programs and surveillance systems, as well conducting researches and studies in the field.
The ceremony approved the National Strategic directions namely the Oman Vaccine Action Plan & National Measles and Rubella Strategy: Post-Elimination Sustain Elimination statue in the 21st Century, in addition to introduction of new vaccines in the National Immunization Program (Hepatitis A and Meningococcal Conjugate). Furthermore, the event presented the final report of the National Measles Vaccination Campaign, conducted in 2017.
At the end of the ceremony, the patron of the event opened the accompanying exhibition that contained scientific posters of the strategies and the vaccines.