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With the new academic year set to begin on September 3, parents are being urged to ensure that their children are fully immunised.

This call was made by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during a handing over ceremony at the Ministry’s offices in downtown Kingston on August 15.

"Be reminded that in a few weeks children will either be going to school for the first time or returning. They will need to be fully immunised in order to be accepted into school,” the Minister said.

He reiterated that parents play a critical role in securing the health of their children and ensuring that the country’s immunisation record remains intact.

"Without your (co-operation), we would not be able to secure the gains we have made in the area of immunisation. Please ensure that your child is fully immunised for their age to secure their health and the health of those around them,” the Minister urged.

Jamaica has, over the years, maintained relatively high immunisation rates. Through the immunisation programme, Jamaica has been able to eliminate a number of vaccine-preventable diseases and reduce infant and child mortality.

Last year, the country achieved 100 per cent coverage for tuberculosis (BCG), 92 per cent for polio, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough and tetanus (DPT), hepatitis B and haemophilus influenxa type B (HIB), and 88 per cent coverage for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).

The Minister noted that while the procedure is a simple one, it is an “important step to take for your children and I urge you to use the services of our primary health care system for this purpose."

Dr. Ferguson said the administration is fully committed to primary health care and is focused on developing Centres of Excellence at health centres and in secondary care institutions.  

During the ceremony, the Kiwanis Club of Constant Spring handed over two refrigerators to the Ministry to strengthen its immunisation programme.

The appliances, valued at $100,000, will be placed at the York Town Health Centre in Clarendon and the Bethel Town Health Centre in Westmoreland.