Immunisation Saves Lives – Protect Your World, Get Vaccinated, will be the theme for the inaugural World Immunisation Week (WIW), which will be observed from April 21 to 28.
The week, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of Vaccination Week in The Americas (VWA), holds special significance since it was a team from Barbados, led by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, which took the resolution to implement a World Immunisation Week to the Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January, this year. The resolution was subsequently passed, and countries in all six regions of the WHO will participate.
During the week, countries will underscore the importance of immunisation in saving lives by encouraging families to vaccinate their children against vaccine preventable diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, etc.
In Barbados, the week will begin on Saturday, April 21, with a Community Health Outreach at Bayville, St. Michael, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.?? Community Public Health Nurses will offer health checks, as well as health education, health promotion and immunisation to persons in the community.
And, throughout the rest of the week – Monday, April 23 to Friday, April 27 – Public Health Nurses will visit ??primary schools to check on children between the ages of three and 10 years old, who have not yet been vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). Once these children have been identified, the nurses will then make arrangements for them to be vaccinated at their respective clinics.
Children from day nurseries will also be visited to make sure their immunisations are up-to-date.
World Immunisation Week is not intended to replace the unique regional initiatives, but instead serve as an overarching framework for all future regional efforts.
Participating nations will embark on activities that will increase vaccination coverage to prevent disease outbreaks; reach undeserved and marginalised communities; and reinforce the medium and long-term benefits of immunisation, which remains one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of VWA and the first WIW, plans are currently under way for several regional launching events. A proposal has been made for a Caribbean celebration of the event to take place in Barbados on Friday, May 4. This
event would serve to highlight the efforts of the Caribbean sub-region during VWA over the last decade, and to recognise the important role played by Barbados in presenting the WIW resolution.