Amid a major outbreak of measles worldwide, local health officials are reporting an increase in child vaccinations for the virus in the British Virgin Islands.
Manager of the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation Marina Fleming-Bedeau explained that more children are being brought into the various clinics by parents to receive their measles vaccines.
“We have a total of 253 children including the regular and the older age group that have been vaccinated from January 2019 to the end of April. Of these children 196 are from the one-year to 15 months age group while the remaining 57 are from the one-year-and-15 months to 10 years age group,” Fleming-Bedeau said.
She added: “Each year we have a target that we work with to ensure that children get vaccinated and this year it is 288 for children one year to 15 months. Because there are two vaccines given, they get the first at one year and the second at 15 months.”
Fleming-Bedeau, who is also a nurse by profession, said while adults can also get affected by the virus, the adverse effects in children are much worse.
“Measles is a highly infectious contagious disease so children are mostly affected from this virus hence the reason why we are so concerned about our children within those age groups to ensure that they are protected,” she noted.
95 percent vaccination coverage rate
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health Dr Irad commended the strength of the current healthcare system in the territory in relation to the measures practised to ensure the territory remains safe.
He further described it as “fortunate” that most of the territory’s children — who are most at risk for contracting the disease — are already vaccinated.
He told BVI News the territory’s vaccination coverage rate is more than 95 percent.
“Usually when we have that high vaccination coverage rate in childhood population, we don’t get outbreaks,” he told BVI News.
Medical officials are urging adults who believe that they have not been vaccinated or have documents to show they have only received one of the two required doses, to visit a clinic of their choice and ensure they are protected from the virus.
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