Parents urged to vaccinate children against Diphtheria

ETHEKWINI Municipality issued a public statement last Friday to urge all parents to ensure that their children up to 12 years of age are vaccinated against Diphtheria.

The statement said Diphtheria is a disease caused by a toxin (poison) made by bacteria.

It is believed the disease starts with a sore throat, mild fever and chills, which is usually followed by swelling of the throat and neck caused by the diphtheria toxin making a thick white or grayish coating on the back of the nose or throat.

This coating makes it hard to breathe or swallow.

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The eThekwini Municipality wrote: “If a child presents the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to visit your nearest health care facility immediately. The disease is contagious and can be fatal if not treated timeously. Vaccinations for diphtheria are available free of charge at all public health care centres around eThekwini Municipality.”

The statement has caused a panic among several parent-orientated social media groups, as many parents were unsure whether or not their child had or had not already received the vaccine.

However, specialist pediatrician, Dr Ashmika Gokhul at Life The Crompton Hospital in Pinetown, assured parents there is no panic.

“All babies and children who have had their six-weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months injections as well as their six years and 12 years injections have already been vaccinated against diphtheria. The warning is for any person who has not been vaccinated already,” said Dr Gokhul.

ALSO READ: Myths and facts around vaccines – here’s what you need to know

There are four vaccines that include protection against diphtheria:

  • The DTaP vaccine protects young children from diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough
  • The DT vaccine protects young children from diphtheria and tetanus
  • The Tdap vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
  • The Td vaccine protects preteens, teens, and adults from tetanus and diphtheria

Adults can also get a booster shot if desired from a government clinic or any private pharmacy.

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay
Journalist

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