Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 23, 2018 (SKNIS): While addressing the nation to commemorate the 16th Vaccination Week in the Americas (VMA), which runs from April 21 – 28, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Senator the Honourable Wendy Phipps, said that the federation has a long track record of vaccination use and advocacy that date back to the 1800s.
Minister Phipps stated that, “As with all of our previous national promotions on the benefits of vaccination, this year’s awareness campaign will again seek to encourage our people to protect our health and the health of our loved ones by getting vaccinated.”
She highlighted that the country’s current vaccine coverage remains at an average of 98% of the target population and that the Ministry of Health will be introducing two new vaccines this year.
These two new vaccines are the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine intended for children who have not yet entered adolescence or teenage years and the Influenza Vaccine for the high risk population including the elderly, port health workers, general health care workers and persons with chronic conditions.
“The Ministries of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis intend to use Vaccination Week in the Americas to sensitize our people to the benefits of vaccination,” said Minister Phipps, as she noted that the week of activities will be used as an educational campaign to relay important messages about the benefits of vaccinations.
She outlined that some of these messages will be that vaccination saves lives, vaccination prevents an average of 2 to 3 million deaths per year from conditions such as measles, and approximately 1.5 million lives could be spared if global vaccination coverage improves.
This year’s Vaccination Week in the Americas, under the theme “GetVax/#VaccinationWorks”, also coincides with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 7th Anniversary of World Immunization Week that is being observed globally from April 24 – 30, 2018, under the theme “Protected Together, “VaccinationWorks”.