According to Dr. Alisha Eugene, district medical officer, immunisation is done according to world health standards.
She was speaking at the launch of a new Immunisation Information Booklet which seeks to sensitise the public on the benefits of vaccination.
“We the health care providers have confidence in our health care programmes. We trust that parents and guardians develop similar trusts. We must be united in recognising and overcoming the germs that cause infectious diseases and threaten the lives of our young ones,” she said as she highlighted that there are many instances in history which have proven that vaccine immunisation saves lives.
“Today there are far few visible reminders of the suffering the injuries and the premature deaths caused by these diseases that can now be prevented with vaccines,” she said.
Eugene believes that the value of vaccines extend beyond childhood.
“Immunisation not only helps protect one individual but also protects an entire community from diseases spread by person-to-person transmission. A decision not to vaccinate is definitely putting your child or the individual at risk and of course the community,” she said.
According to her, vaccines used here are procured by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) revolving fund and that this entire system is monitored and governed by a robust system.
She said through this, quality vaccines are made available “at a reduced cost in a timely and consistent manner through an effective and efficient process of coordination and monitoring to ensure the arrival and administration or safe vaccines to the population”.
“All of these components of the programme are part of our yearly work plan for which we develop objectives and activities to be developed in achieving the vaccination goals of ensuring that persons are vaccinated appropriately and adequately within the legal framework,” she said.
Eugene believes that the introduction of the Immunisation Information Booklet by the nursing community is not only timely but appropriate. The booklet has been in the making for the past two and a half years. It was adapted from a similar booklet from Korea.
It is hoped that parents who will be issued the free booklets will spread the knowledge with their children as time goes by.
Meanwhile, Julietta Frederick-Cassius, manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), told the launch there are many reasons why some children are not immunised. They include: parents do not know why immunisation is important, they do not understand when to get the children immunised, a few still disagree with immunisation as a public measure, or have concerns about vaccine safety.
Although the country has a vaccination rate that is above the WHO standard of 95 percent, she said the focus should remain on sustaining the country’s immunisation gains.
“We cannot let down our guard as a ministry,” she said.