GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – From April 24 to 30, is World Immunization Week, with the aim to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, endorses World Immunization Week and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Vaccination Week in the Americas, and as the World Health Organizations (WHO) says, “Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
“Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today.”
The theme of this year’s World Immunization Week campaign is “Protected Together: Vaccines Work!”
The 17th edition of the PAHO Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) started April 20 and runs until April 27 under the theme: “Protect your community. Do your part.”
VWA includes the participation of 45 countries and territories in the Americas.
Immunization prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus, diarrhea, rubella, and tetanus.
Global vaccination coverage remains at 85 per cent with no significant changes during the past few years. The WHO says an uptake of new and underused vaccines is increasing.
An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however if global immunization coverage improves.
CPS advises guardians and parents to check their children’s vaccination status to see whether they are up to date. Persons with fever or rash should consult their physician who would then alert CPS where the necessary surveillance actions can be taken in connection with measles.
According to PAHO, historically, the Region of the Americas has led the way towards the elimination of various vaccine-preventable diseases.
“In 1971, it became the first region in the world to eliminate smallpox. In 1994, it achieved certification for the elimination of poliomyelitis. In 2015, it ended rubella and congenital rubella syndrome and in 2016, it eliminated measles.
“However, according to Etienne, the resurgence in outbreaks of measles and diphtheria, as well the occurrence of yellow fever, are challenges that must be faced in the Region.
“Measles remains a public health problem in all other Regions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and imported cases have been a significant threat to the countries of the Americas, where more than 17,000 cases have been registered since 2017,” said the PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.