Minister encourages vigilance for kids’ vaccinations

| 25/04/2010

(CNS): Delivering his message for vaccination, the health minister has said that while Cayman has the most successful vaccination programme in the Caribbean, as host to over 100 nationalities even when some diseases are eliminated locally the island is vulnerable to reintroduction. He said parents should remain vigilant and check their children’s vaccination cards. 97% of children in Cayman are vaccinated as they enter primary school against a number of childhood diseases and the HSA has recently introduced programmes to protect children from the rotavirus vaccine and the pneumococcal vaccine.

Minister of Health Mark Scotland’s message for Vaccination Week in the Americas:
"Thanks to modern vaccines and vigilant, committed public health professionals, Cayman is largely free from devastating diseases such as polio, neonatal tetanus, rubella, mumps, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tuberculosis.  
Indeed, vaccines are central to preventing contagious childhood diseases, and immunisation is without doubt one of the most cost-effective ways of keeping our children healthy. 
Locally, our Public Health Department runs a relevant and modern vaccination programme, covering between 90 and 95 percent of all infants and some 97 percent of children entering primary school.  
All vaccines used in the Cayman Islands are obtained from reputable manufacturers and are administered in strict compliance with guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the regional Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). 
Aware of the fact that any successful immunisation programme must continually update and adapt, we recently introduced two new vaccines to the childhood vaccination schedule: The rotavirus vaccine protects against severe vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration caused by the rotavirus; and the pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and blood poisoning, as well as ear infections caused by bacteria known as streptococcus pneumonia. 
Their steadfast efforts have earned our public health officials the 2009 Pan American Health Organization’s Caribbean Sub-region Surveillance Award – an accolade that justly acknowledges them as being the best among 28 Caribbean nations. 
Yet even as we celebrate such notable successes, we must stay on our guard: Cayman hosts over 100 nationalities as residents, with many more – visitors as well as returning residents – arriving daily from all over the world. It is therefore evident that even when we manage to eliminate some diseases locally, we will always be vulnerable to reintroduction. 
Thus as Health Minister, I fully support our Public Health Department as it strives to give every child access to age-appropriate vaccines. My ministry will also continue to facilitate the introduction of any new vaccines recommended by WHO and PAHO. 
However, while it is government’s role to provide the necessary resources for continued success of the programme, I remind you that parents too have a major responsibility. As such, I ask you to join our country’s efforts this Vaccination Week – observed from 24 April to 1 May – by taking the simple step of checking your children’s immunizationcards. As the international immunisation awareness campaign slogan states: Love them, protect them, immunise them. 
So, for their sake, ensure their inoculations are up to date, because vaccination is truly a primary act of love.
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  1. S says:

    There is no research to suggest any connection between Autism and vaccinations. The Dr who produced the only research that did show a link has been shown to have fudged the results and the research retracted from the journal it was printed in.

    Whatever small risk there may be from side effects of vaccines, they come nowhere close to the catastrophic impact of these diseases recirculating amongst our population.

    I understood all of that when I chose to have my baby immunised. Not immunising your child risks the heath of the community  with young babies and very sick children, who are not able to have vaccines themselves, at particular risk.

    When I took my infant to the doctor’s office I only hoped that the parents of the other children in the waiting room had also had the good sense to immunise their children so as to protect my (then) weeks old baby.

  2. Anonymous says:

    IMO there is more of a chance to be affected with a disease you would be vaccinated against than developing Autism.  You can die from any one of the diseases but I have never heard about a death from autism.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Vaccine to protect against some diseases and introduce some lifelong ailments like AUTISM?

    parents, if you care enough, read up on the connection between vaccinations and autism…

    A very worried parent….

    CNS: The debate about the link between autism and vaccinations doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, but it’s worth reading this latest piece in the New York Times: Journal Retracts 1998 Paper Linking Autism to Vaccines.



    • CNS Thanks For The Link says:

      This bogus autism link gibberish is killing and maiming children and increasing infection rates for terrible diseases.  Although the "debate" is not going away soon, the science is all pointing in one direction – getting a vaccination is a no brainer when it comes doing the best thing for a child.