Sister urges parents to get children immunised

It is important that parents and guardians take advantage of the upcoming Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) and get their children up to date.

Senior Health Sister Juleyette Serrano said they noticed a reduction in vaccinations in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic as families were less willing to visit polyclinics during the lockdown.

The week will run from April 23 to 29.

“For this year, the vaccination uptake rate is returning to some degree of normalcy but still there are still those years during the lockdown that have the greatest drop in defaulters,” said Serrano who will chair the local committee.

“We are trying to narrow that gap but there is still work to be done. I would like parents to know the dangers of these diseases. They are not familiar with them because of the success that we have had over the years with our vaccine coverage.”

Serrano, who is assigned to the Branford Taitt Polyclinic in Bridgetown, continued saying: “As I always say these diseases are only a plane ride away, and if by chance they do hit our shores, the persons who are not vaccinated and undervaccinated will be most affected. I would like them to take every vaccination seriously and take every opportunity to bring their children to the private hospital or the polyclinics to make sure they are on top of everything.”

She explained that when the coverage dips below the medical aim of 95 per cent the population is more at risk to outbreaks.

Despite the noticed but not calculated drop in immunisation coverage amongst children, Serrano says it is not down to a newly developed vaccine hesitancy.

“We have a good relationship with parents and a good history of having a high vaccine coverage. It (the dip in vaccinations received) didn’t only occur here in Barbados, it occurred throughout the region and around the world. The reason is because of the pandemic, the lockdown and because of the strain on resources due to having to give out COVID-19 vaccines. It isn’t hesitancy. It is more down to accessibility as parents would have made the decision to stay home during the lockdown.” she said.

Barbados will join the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) and territories in the Americas, along with other partners to celebrate the 21st annual VWA and the 12th World Immunisation Week (WIW).

The theme for the week will be “Get Up to Date:#EachVaccineCounts” and Barbados will commence celebrations from April 21 with a lineup of engaging public events.

The National Immunisation Schedule in Barbados is as follows:

At two months, children receive vaccinations against: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3), Hepatitis B (Hep BB), Polio (Pol3), Haemophilus influenzae (Hib3).
At three months they receive Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3), Hepatitis B, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae as well as Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
At four months they receive Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3), Hepatitis B (Hep BB), Polio (Pol3), Haemophilus influenzae (Hib3).
At six months they receive Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3), Hepatitis B (Hep BB), Polio (Pol3), Haemophilus influenzae (Hib3).
When they are a year old they receive the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) and the Varicella vaccine (Chicken pox).
At eighteen months they receive a booster Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3) vaccine and a booster Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
At four and a half years old they receive another Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3) vaccine and another Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
At eleven years old they receive a Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP1/DTP3) vaccine, a Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Human papillomavirus (HPV). Human papillomavirus (HPV) is optional but highly recommended. (JC/PR)

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