February 10, 2015
Parents urged to get children immunized

Immunization of children against certain vaccine preventable diseases, including measles, is offered at no cost at Government health centres across St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Chief Medical Officer Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, in a release, therefore urged parents who have not yet fully immunized their children or parents of those who are due their booster shots, to do so immediately.

However, in relation to measles, Focal Point for Communicable Diseases and Immunization in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment Ferosa Roache says there is no need for citizens here to fear, as St Vincent and the Grenadines has been free of the endemic (local) transmission of measles since 1991, because of the success of our Expanded Programme on Immunization.

A surveillance system for suspected measles was also established in SVG in 1991. This surveillance system identified 14 cases of fever and rash in the period between 1996 and 2001. These cases, however, were negative for measles on laboratory investigation. No laboratory confirmed cases of measles have been reported since 1991.

St Vincent and the Grenadines experienced outbreaks of measles in 1980 and 1990, when 129 cases were reported.

Roache further adds that the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines is committed to sustaining the programme gains achieved by the Expanded Programme on Immunization. She says that there are human and financial resources allocated to the programme and a supportive legislative environment that promotes immunization of children as a requirement for school entry. Maintenance of the vaccination coverage of 100 per cent for all antigens included in the national schedule is accorded a high priority.

Compulsory immunization for children begins at birth and continues until they are 10 years old.