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DA calls for flu vaccines at schools after Port Elizabeth influenza outbreak

May 30, 2019
DA calls for flu vaccines at schools after Port Elizabeth influenza outbreak

Bhisho - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape on Thursday called for flu vaccines to be made available at schools after an influenza outbreak in Port Elizabeth.

"The recent outbreak of Influenza A in Nelson Mandela Bay, which led to the temporary shutdown of Grey Junior School this week, has highlighted the need for flu vaccines to be made available at schools," described new DA Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Education, Yusuf Cassim.

"This should serve as a warning, as the spread of infection could be happening at other schools, which is why I am calling on the Department of Education to monitor schools in the province to prevent a wholesale crisis breaking out.

"The influenza vaccine is considered by healthcare authorities the world over, including the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa, to offer individuals and communities the best protection available against influenza.

"It is also strongly recommended that those at risk, particularly people living with HIV, TB and chronic diseases get vaccinated."

Cassim added that the Democratic Alliance understands that Department of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Education, does provide for vaccinations against HPV, measles as well as deworming.

"These services are offered at schools to learners whose parents have given written consent.

"The DA further understands that, while flu vaccines are available to the public through clinics, it is not offered as part of this collaboration at schools," he said.

"I have therefore written to the newly appointed MEC of Education, Fundile Gade, to request clarity on whether the flu vaccine is available to learners and, if not, that the Department of Education engage with the Department of Health to include the flu vaccine in their service offerings, as Flu season is upon us."

Read the letter HERE.

Cassim said that he will also be submitting parliamentary questions to the Department of Education to ascertain what measures have been put in place to monitor and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as influenza, and prevent an epidemic from occurring.

"Children need to be healthy in order to learn at their highest potential. Timely flu vaccinations will help in preventing the spread of the disease, thus reducing the overall number of sick days and giving the learners the best possible advantage to learn."

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