Black Immigrant Daily News
Some children in Westmoreland are not “adequately” immunised against the polio, sparking concerns among health officials in the parish.
The disclosure was made by Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr Marcia Graham, while speaking at a recent function.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been negatives being pushed about the COVID vaccines and the general use of other traditional vaccines.
As such, some parents are reportedly resisting the ingrained option of having their babies and young children properly immunised against diseases such as polio, measles, mumps and rubella.
Polio, for example, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person, and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis, and can lead to death.
There were two outbreaks of the disease in 1954, and again in 1957, in Jamaica, with mild cases in the 1980s, mostly in St James.
The disease is 99 per cent eradicated world-wide, but still affects two counties in the world, namely, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
With this in mind, Graham has indicated that health personnel will be stepping up their efforts to encourage parents to, among other things, ensure their children are propery inoculated with the polio shot.
“We continue to send out the alert for polio,” she advised.
“Some of our children are not adequately immunised by the polio vaccine, and so we are on a drive to encourage them (parents) to bring the vaccination cards – the child health and development passport – to the nearest health centre so we can check it to see if your child is missing any polio vaccination doses,”Graham stated.
Further, the medical officer of health is calling on school administrators to play their part in the process, pointing out that they can be fined for not ensuring students are properly immunised.
“We are encouraging our educational institutions – I know COVID cost a lot of disruption in a lot of things – to keep a record of the immunisation card on the school file, because schools can be fined if they are admitting children to school who are not adequately immunised,” Graham cautioned.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, admitted in early December that there were some concerns relative to the child vaccination rate locally.
He blamed the anti-vaccine movement and its wider reach through social media platforms, for the misinformation and fear that are being peddled relative to the drugs.
At the time, Tufton reiterated that all vaccines are safe and play a critical role in boosting life expectancy.
“Major risks such as polio, for example, yellow fever, and the likes of those imported serious diseases, have been mitigated through vaccination,” said Tufton in a media interview.
“… And indeed, a big part of why we live to an average age of about 74 to 76 years, is because we… protected ourselves from the early stages through immunisation or vaccination,” Tufton suggested then.
The health minister also appealed to parents to visit their health centres to get inoculated against those diseases.