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Zimbabwe Completes National Child Immunization Drive, But Follow-Up Continues


Final figures on the number of children reached through the June 2 closing date of the national immunization campaign had not yet been released, but authorities said 3.9 million children had been vaccinated as of May 30

Zimbabwe has concluded a 10-day national child immunization campaign launched on May 24, but health officials said on Thursday that they will be following up by extending the program selectively in areas where the outreach fell short of 100 percent coverage of children between the ages of six months and 15 years.

The World Health Organization said provincial medical directors have been asked to advise the Health Ministry where follow-ups are needed. Harare's Seke district has already asked for more time to reach all local children.

Final statistics on the number of children reached through the June 2 closing date of the campaign were not yet being released, but authorities said 3.9 million had been vaccinated as of Monday, May 31.

Dr. Lincoln Charimari, a World Health Organization disease prevention and control officer, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that his agency is pleased with the results of the national effort.

A report posted on the WHO website gave the coverage status as of June 1, "Manicaland (province) has covered about 83 percent of its target, Mashonaland Central 66 percent, Mashonaland East 80 percent, Mashonaland West 74 percent, Matabeleland North 71 percent, Matabeleland South 67 percent, Midlands 69 percent, Masvingo 70 percent, Bulawayo 71 percent, Chitungwiza 83 percent and Harare 66 percent."

The report said health workers remained "highly motivated" though the last days of the campaign.

"The National Coordinating Committee and supporting teams will continue to liaise with provinces to assess the progress towards meeting the set targets, replenish supplies ... monitor and investigate adverse events following immunization (a few mild cases have been reported) and plan for the post-campaign survey."

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