Minister’s message for Vaccination Week in the Americas

| 25/04/2019
CNS Local Life
Dwayne Seymour

Minister of Health Dwayne Seymour writes: This week the Cayman Islands has once again joined in the observance of Vaccination Week in the Americas (20-27 April 2019). The 2019 campaign slogan “Protect your community. Do your part. #GetVax” reminds us all that we each have an important role to play in supporting vaccination and keeping deadly diseases at bay. This call to action extends to the general public, but also to health care workers, donors and decision makers across two continents.

The recent Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) alert requesting public health departments around the Caribbean to be on the lookout for imported cases of measles and rubella, only highlights how important vaccinations are to protecting the health of our people.

This alert followed two confirmed cases of measles imported to the region from Europe, as well as confirmed measles outbreaks in 22 of the United States.

While the Cayman Islands has been measles free for some time now, if we intend to remain that way we must be ready for anything that may occur.

As such earlier this month health care professionals from the public and private sectors came together for a measles outbreak workshop and simulation. The purpose of the exercise, which was led by PAHO, was to work through how we would action a measles outbreak.

Given our size, our measles-free status and the highly contagious nature of the disease such planning is essential and my thanks go out to all who took part in this exercise.

This Saturday, 27 April, public health authorities will take a further step further towards protecting our community. They have organised a special immunisation clinic at the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where parents may bring all children needing vaccinations, including those with missed or outstanding doses.

We in the Cayman Islands owe the hard-working staff of the Public Health Department a debt of gratitude. Over the last several decades the Department’s robust immunisation programme has eliminated from our shores small pox, polio, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, rubella (German measles), mumps, and tuberculous meningitis.

This reflects the world-leading work being done across the Americas which, in the 17 years since Vaccination Week began, has immunised 740 million people and eliminated six diseases.  

As Minister of Health, I urge you to continue to do everything you can to protect our community. In particular you should regularly check your immunisation status and that of family members. This includes checks for any boosters that may be needed and for vaccinations that are required before travel.

For additional information please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648.

Allow me to end by wishing continued good health to all within the Cayman Islands.

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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