Sunday , 29 January 2023

Target children and not adolescents for typhoid vaccination – Dr. Nsiah Asare urges scientists

Government advisor on health, Dr. Nsiah Asare is urging scientists carrying out the newly introduced typhoid vaccination to give more attention to children instead of adolescents.

He believes expanding the age range will lead to increased uptake of the vaccine.

Dr. Nsiah Asare said this at the Typhoid Vaccine Trial national stakeholders meeting on Monday.

Typhoid fever is part of a group of fevers called enteric fever caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Salmonella Typhi). The transmission of typhoid disease is well established through the faeco-oral route where germs in faeces from one person gets to the mouth of another person. It could also be contracted indirectly by the ingestion of contaminated water, milk, food, or mechanically through flies carrying the pathogen. Contaminated dairy products can be a rich source of infection.

This is the first-ever national Typhoid Stakeholders engagement, two years after the launch of the TyVEGHA Typhoid Vaccine Trial in Ghana.

The multi-stakeholder conference on Typhoid Fever and Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine (TCV) was organised by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the University of Cambridge (UCAM).

The meeting brought together stakeholders and experts from the Government of Ghana, the World Health Organisation, Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Scientists, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Public Health Experts to share findings on typhoid disease burden and potential introduction of Typhoid Vaccine in Ghana.

Taking a cue from the COVID-19 experience, Dr. Nsiah Asare observed that most adolescents are apathetic towards the vaccination exercise.

“We found it very hard to convince especially, the youth to take the COVID jabs during the pandemic. It’ll be best if you could focus on the children,” he said.

He also suggested that the vaccine be added to the routine childhood vaccine.

“They should try and do research to find out exactly which cohort of the children we should concentrate on. If you’re not careful and we have a broad range of up to 15, it’ll be very difficult to vaccinate. The most difficult people to vaccinate are adolescents.

“It should be such a way that the typhoid conjugate vaccine should be added to the routine childhood vaccines,” he said.

The Principal Investigator on the project, Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo reiterated the need to share the findings which are suggestive of the introduction of a typhoid fever vaccine in Ghana for discussion with relevant stakeholders. 

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