As part of its effort to continuously enhance the National Immunization Program including School Health vaccination, the Ministry of Health and Prevention has announced that the second dose of varicella vaccine will be administered to students effective this academic year 2017-2018. The announcement was made during a workshop in Dubai attended by Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of Preventive Medicine Department and Executive Manager of Happiness and Positivity; Dr Laila Al Jasmi, Head of Immunization Section; Dr. Najla Sajwani, Head of School Health Section; representatives from the local health authorities and preventive medicine centers; supervisors and other healthcare professionals of the School Health Program.
Dr. Hussein Abdel Rahman Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Clinics and Centers, said the move to include it to the National Immunization Program for children reflects the Ministry’s full commitment to protect community from diseases and prevent the spread of them, particularly in schools where immunization programs are being implemented as among the most effective and successful medical interventions. He said the UAE has achieved its global immunization targets approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) according to the directives of the country’s leadership and objective of UAE Vision 2021 to build a world-class health system to position the country among the best nations.
According to Dr. Al Marzouqi, the second dose of varicella vaccine will be given to students aged 5 to 6 years old in collaboration with the local health authorities to reach a wider segment of community and ensure broader protection of UAE communities from diseases and infections.
Dr. Al Jasmi said the announcement was done during the workshop to take advantage of the presence of various health organizations in the event. For 16-year-old students, she said the government will switch from the booster dose of diphtheria and tetanus vaccine to include pertussis vaccine. As the program will take effect this current academic year, she said the workshop focused on importance of immunization program in schools and updates on varicella, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It also tackled a range of key topics, from various ways to effectively deal with the side effects and the vaccination cold chain system, and coverage reports.
Dr. Sajwani assured that school nurses and the coordinators have been regularly trained to update them on the vaccination program. Additionally, updates have been made to consent forms for parents to include information about the new vaccines, raise their awareness, and formally seek their approvals.