Opposition Spokesman on Health and Wellness, Dr Morais Guy, is urging the authorities to reinstate the childhood vaccination programme that protects children from a range of diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
Guy, in his recent contribution to the Sectoral Debate, noted that the regular vaccine programme was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many children have missed out on these vaccinations mostly due to the fact that the public health nurses were deployed in the COVID-19 fight as well as a shortage of vaccines,” Guy stated.
He pointed out that Jamaica has had an enviable record of childhood vaccination worldwide, boasting percentages in the high 90s for several diseases.
“The government is advised to expeditiously reinstate the usual childhood vaccinations at this time to ensure that all children are fully vaccinated and further, to prevent the possibility of an outbreak of measles which is currently being experienced in some parts of the world...” said Guy.
He noted that the World Health Organisation is reporting a 79 per cent increase in cases of measles in the first two months of 2022 when compared to the similar period last year, and has warned that conditions are ripe for serious outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
“The government is also advised to ensure that proper logistic arrangements are in place to guarantee adequate supplies of all childhood vaccinations, more so with supply chain disruptions currently being experienced worldwide and to prevent a repeat of the shortage of BCG vaccines which the country had late last year,” Guy said.