Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone has disclosed that the Territory has 90 to 95 percentage coverage for recommended childhood vaccines.
In a statement issued in support of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) 2019, Minister Malone said this means that between 90 to 95 percent of the Territory’s children are up to date with their vaccination schedules.
Honourable Malone said, “As a Territory, we will continue to strive to achieve 100% coverage for all of the recommended vaccines. We continue to advocate and admonish parents and caregivers to ensure that their children are vaccinated and protected from vaccine preventable diseases because we all have a part to play in protecting and preserving the health of our community.”
He stated that BVI’s last recorded case of measles was in 1990 and educational efforts will continue through the Expanded Programme on Immunization to provide the relevant vaccines in the prevention of all forms of diseases where possible.
The Health Minister stated that the importance of vaccinations can never be overstated as this has been one of the greatest public health achievements of the modern era. Timely vaccinations he added, offer the safest and most effective way to protect individuals, their families and the community from a long list of potentially life-threatening illnesses.
Honourable Malone further added that vaccinations have become an integral part of the Territory’s health management system and its benefits are realised every day. He said, “These products have also influenced the impact and transmission of diseases like Polio, Measles, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza, Tetanus and Chicken Pox. Although vaccinations have provided a shield for us against these diseases for many years, now, more and more, persons are opting not to vaccinate. This has prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to highlight ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the top ten threats to global health in 2019.”
A report from the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that from January 1 to March 28, 2019, 387 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 15 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eradicated in 2000.
Minister Malone said these developments may cause concern to residents as a tourist destination and well-travelled population. “My encouragement to you is to protect yourself, your children, and other family members from these diseases by ensuring that your family is up to date with their vaccination schedule.”
The community is also encouraged to pay careful attention to the messages that will be shared by Health Professionals during Vaccination Week, and to seek further information from their primary healthcare provider as the Territory continues to strive to improve Public Health through vaccines and vaccination.
Vaccination Week is being observed from April 20 to 27 under the theme “Do your part. Protect your community. #GetVax.
BVI Health Services Authority is committed to delivering excellent, compassionate, client centered healthcare across the Territory.