Health Authority Working to Increase Immunization Coverage in Western Parishes


The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) is working to increase immunization coverage in the western parishes of Trelawny, St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland.
Just under 10,000 children are projected to be inoculated this year, but statistics are showing that the figures are below target for the first six months of the year.
A breakdown of the figures for BCG and Polio vaccines for the period January to June 2007, shows that coverage in Trelawny was at 37.6 per cent and 51.4 per cent, respectively; St. James, 39.6 per cent and 42.3 per cent; Hanover, 37.4 per cent and 45.6 per cent; while Westmoreland was at 42.3 per cent and 41.9 per cent, bringing the regional figures to 39.8 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.
Acting Nursing Supervisor at the WRHA, Vivienne Hind, told JIS News that a number of strategies are being put in place to increase coverage.
These include undertaking a public education programme and visiting more homes and workplaces, to encourage mothers to bring their children to the clinics for the necessary vaccines. She also made an appeal for employers and communities at large, to play a part by encouraging mothers to get their children vaccinated.
Outlining the immunization schedule, Nurse Hind informed that babies usually receive the BCG vaccine at the hospital at birth and follow-up shots are given at the post-natal clinics.
“We have six weeks post natal clinics that all our babies should come in to, and then we start the rest of the immunization schedule at that time, and we carry through until the child is four to six years old when they get their boosters,” she informed. She noted that there is never a shortage of vaccines, as adequate supplies are always in stock.

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