The Ministry of Health has assured parents on the safety of the Measles and Rubella vaccine to be used in the immunisation exercise disputing circulating allegations that it is dangerous to children as “false, unfounded and baseless”.
The mass immunisation exercise which commenced on Tuesday is expected to go up to Sunday October 20.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng the Health minister explained that contrary to allegations on social media, the Measles-Rubella vaccine does not cause Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), saying that several studies have shown there is no link between the vaccines and developing ASD.
ASD is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour.
“One ingredient that has been studied specifically is thimerosal, a mercury based preservative used to prevent contamination of multidose vials of vaccines. Research shows that thimerosal does not cause ASD,” Dr Aceng said in a press statement issued on Tuesday.
Dr Aceng further explained that in the recent past, Uganda has experienced Measles and Rubella outbreak in over 60 districts upon which background together with partners they decided to launch the immunisation campaign.
“We appeal to all parents that, caretakers and guardians, to take all your children below 15 years of age for immunisation against Measles, Rubella and Polio during this mass immunisation exercise,” she said, adding that the vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are therefore safe, free and effective.
One facebook user under the account name, Mugisha Elvis Mbonye, has been using his page to question the safety of the drugs, saying the ministry should be transparent and tell the public the “truth”.
“There's a reason that every doctor or scientist who has ever spoken out publicly against vaccines has been branded a quack, regardless of their unblemished reputation up to that point conscious campaign to maintain the myth of vaccine safety, effectiveness and necessity.
We need a transparent national discussion of vaccine safety and effectiveness,” reads one of the posts.
Such posts have incited the public with some parents saying they would not allow to have their children to be immunised. The nationwide drive targeting children under the age of fifteen was launched on Monday in Mayuge District.
ABOUT RUBELLA AND MEASLES
Rubella also known as German measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus.
Most people who contract the illness usually have a mild illness, with symptoms that can include fever, sore throat and body rash.
Rubella can cause miscarriages or serious birth defects in a developing baby if the mother gets infected while pregnant.
Whereas measles symptoms appear 7 to 14 days after getting into contact with the virus and can lead to adverse fevers, cough, and watery eyes, both diseases can be fatal.