Urgent action needed on routine childhood vaccinations

Doctors in Barbados are alarmed about the rising number of children who are missing routine vaccinations.

President of the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), Dr Lynda Williams urged the Ministry of Health & Wellness to “urgently” launch research into why there has been a decline in the number of children receiving their normal course of paediatric vaccines.

The concerns of BAMP echo similar sentiments of doctors around the world that have warned of a potentially sharp rise in vaccine-preventable diseases with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic causing a major backsliding in childhood vaccinations.

Williams said that with the 2021 statistics showing a significant reduction in the island’s coverage in DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), as well as MMR (mumps, measles and rubella), answers must be sought as to whether COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy had translated into a loss of faith in infant immunisation.

According to statistics from the ministry, Barbados had 94 per cent DTP vaccine coverage four years ago, which fell to 83 per cent last year; and 85 per cent of children under the age of one were vaccinated against measles four years ago, compared to 76 per cent last year.

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