Children need vaccine

There aren’t enough people answering the call in the Cayman Islands to ensure they are properly vaccinated against polio.

The Public Health Department made a plea earlier this month to people in the Cayman Islands to check their immunisation records to ensure they have been immunised against polio in the wake of an outbreak in Namibia.

‘We’ve had a few people call, but these are not the people who need to be vaccinated,’ explained Alice Jane Ebanks, manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation.

If you are an adult who lives in the Cayman Islands and travels mainly to polio-free countries, you do not need the injection, added Ms Ebanks.

However, if you plan on travelling to Namibia, you should get vaccinated. ‘If you are planning on travelling to Namibia or any country endemic with polio, it is necessary that you should receive the vaccine.’

It is predominantly children that the EPI is looking to get vaccinated.

‘Children who have incomplete immunisation records need to come in,’ Ms Ebanks emphasised.

The WHO is in the process of sending inspectors to cover Namibia and seven other countries to see if they can once again receive the polio-free stamp of approval.

According to Google News the Minister of Health and Social Services for Namibia, Dr. Richard Kamwi, yesterday said the nationwide inoculation campaign was a huge success.

The article detailed that some regions had coverage of 80 per cent and some exceeded 100 per cent.

Dr. Kamwi explained that areas such as Oshana recorded vaccination of over 105 per cent of the population, as foreigners and visitors in transit also received the vaccine.

The first round of immunisations took place from last Wednesday 21 June to Friday 23 June.

Dr. Kamwi described the number of those left unvaccinated as insignificant, however an operation took place last weekend to cover all remaining persons in need of the vaccine.

Google News reported Monday that the World Health Organisation is expected to fly more polio vaccine into Namibia from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Kamwi added that the only problems experienced thus far were some discrepancies in the necessary amounts of vaccine being delivered, however this situation was quickly sorted out.

The second round of the inoculation will take place in July and the last one planned for August will target children under five and include vitamin supplementation.

If a person survives polio, long-term effects can include a sense of fatigue and exhaustion, muscle weakness, muscular or joint pain, sleeping problems, breathing problems and an inability to tolerate cold temperatures.

If you wish to get your child vaccinated in the Cayman Islands, contact Ms Ebanks at 244-2627.

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