By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Some 1,509,000million doses of the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine, (BCG) have been sent to health facilities across the 10 regions of Cameroon, after a one-month stock-out.
The vaccines which were delivered to Public Health authorities on April 22 come after a shortage in health facilities since mid-March, the national broadcaster CRTV reported.
Some Regions have already received their share of the BCG vaccine, while the other Regions are expected to receive it by the end of this week.
Dr Njoh Andreas, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Enlarged Program on Immunization, said the scarcity of the vaccines is caused by a delay in supply, coupled with the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We experienced a stock-out in a few regions partly due to the delay in the reception of the vaccines which were requested. This delay is equally partially linked to the burden of COVID-19 which has affected several parts of the world, and interfering with the production of basic life commodities including vaccines,” Dr Njoh Andreas said.
The BCG is an important childhood vaccine that is given to newborn babies in Cameroon, to build their immunity and protect them against tuberculosis. The vaccine is also recommended to persons under the age of 35 who are at risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB).
According to Public Health authorities, distribution is based on the needs of the respective regions and their districts. The Far North Regions is expected to get the lion-share (64,000) of the vaccine while the South West Region has been allocated 29,000.
Distribution of the BCG vaccines to Regions
Adamawa Region 29,500
Far North Region 64,000
Centre Region, 66,500
Littoral Region, 50,500
North West Region, 31,000
South West Region, 29,000
South Region, 13,500
West Region, 45,000
When the vaccines arrive in the regions, newborns will once again be administered the vaccines, while babies and other persons who missed their vaccine due to the stock-out can catch up, officials added.