by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The messaging remains the same, “vaccination is the only way to bring us closer together.”
The theme for this year’s World Immunization Week (Vaccines Bring Us Closer) and Minister of Health, Akilah Byron-Nisbett is in favour of that stance.
“Only vaccines and immunization can foster physical proximity and bring us closer to each other, as more people are protected from COVID-19 through vaccination, our goals of achieving maximal closeness again, reducing travel restrictions masking and distancing requirements will undoubtedly be closer to attainment.”
Byron-Nisbett, on the occasion of World Immunization Week 2021 addressed the nation on April 27, reported on the federation’s immunization rate for children ranging from birth to 11-12.
“At the local level. The Federation’s and National Immunization program, which includes vaccines for the prevention of the diseases mentioned above, boasts of an admirable childhood immunization success rate of 96 to 98 percent [from] birth to grade six. In addition to the common childhood vaccines, the influenza vaccine was introduced in the St. Kitts and Nevis immunization program in 2018 with a focus on clients and groups identified as high risk. The targets and groups are health care workers, pregnant women, older adults and persons with chronic diseases. Further, the human papilloma vaccine, HPV, was introduced into the St Kitts and Nevis National Immunization program in October 2019 to grade six students with an impressive 92% coverage, having seen 758 students vaccinated, from a target population of 824.”
Also reporting on the rate of immunization for polio, smallpox, rubella and measles, Byron-Nisbett used the opportunity to emphasize that the same can be done with the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccines will allow us to freely gather safely, whether for work, leisure, learning duty or worship… by preventing disease transmission within households, and among caregivers… However, the tide can only be turned when we reach a large number of our population… If we fail to achieve this, the impact on our health and socio-economic systems will take months or even years to reverse.”