JIS News

The Westmoreland Health Department has stepped up its immunization drive to increase coverage from an estimated 65 per cent of children within the zero to 23 months age group, to 95 per cent by the end of the year.
Senior Public Health Nurse Inez Creary-James, told JIS News, that some 5,400 children were in the targeted age group and the aim was to immunize them against some 10 preventable diseases to achieve what is described in public health as “herd immunity”.
“However, if the cohort in that age group not immunized is 10 per cent and above, then herd immunity would not apply because over a three year period, the numbers of those not immunized would present a multiplying effect”, she explained. She noted that the greater the number of children not immunized, the greater the chances of an outbreak of any of the preventable diseases.
Mrs. Creary-James said that the increased efforts at getting children immunized was being done through community outreach programmes, evening clinics and house to house visits among other methods. We are literally taking the vaccine to the community”, she stated.
An immunization fair is being planned for the Methodist Church ground in Savanna-la-mar on Saturday, November 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. “If the crowd comes out and we have to work later than that time, we would facilitate them”, she informed.
She made a plea for parents to properly secure the immunization cards given by the health department, as these cards provide valuable information to health personnel during future visits by the children.Mrs. Creary-James called on parents to act responsibly and to get their children immunized, or risk sanction under the law.
The immunization law comes under the Public Health Act, which states that every child under the age of seven years is to be immunized.

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