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JIS News

As the new school year approaches, Acting Director of Family Health in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Dr. Yvonne Munroe, is reminding parents and caregivers, to ensure that their children are adequately immunised.
Speaking with JIS News, Dr. Munroe underscored the need for children to be immunised, pointing out that Jamaica and the wider Caribbean have made tremendous inroads, in eliminating a number of diseases from the region and would wish to maintain this status.
Immunisation, she explained, is the number one defence against the reintroduction of these diseases.
“We have eliminated measles, rubella and polio. If our children are not vaccinated against these diseases and someone from another country, where those diseases are, comes to the Caribbean or to Jamaica and becomes ill with those diseases, our children may be infected,” she noted, adding that this would lead to the reintroduction of the diseases in the country and the region.
Conversely, if the children are properly vaccinated, she said, their immune systems would ward off the diseases.
She issued an appeal to parents and caregivers, to ensure that they visit the relevant health centres or medical practitioners, to check on the immunisation status of their children. She also encouraged parents to get information on the vaccines and the diseases against which they provide protection.
In addition to measles, polio and rubella, vaccines provide protection against other diseases, such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus, Hepatitis B and Haemophilus Influenza Type B (HIB).
“These diseases are often fatal, with serious consequences, such as meningitis, deafness, mental retardation, and paralysis, in the case of polio,” Dr. Munroe said. “We don’t want our children to spend long periods in hospital and suffer unnecessarily from diseases that can be prevented,” she added.
To facilitate the immunisation of children for the new school term, the Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, will be staging an Immunisation Fair, at the Mico Practising School, from August 21 to 23. The Fair will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the first two days and from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 23.