The Saint Lucia Football Association (SLFA) has thrown its support behind the annual observance of Vaccination Week of the Americas, which has as its theme: “Strengthen your defense, Get Vaccinated, Vaccines Work”.
The week was launched by the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Monday April 23rd.
On Saturday 28th April the Football Association in collaboration with the Community Nursing Service organized a health fair to provide education on vaccination to female and male national players.
The health fair was held at the office of the SLFA in Vide Bouteille.
Social and Development Officer for the SLFA, Karen Fowell, explaining why the association has endorsed the vaccination initiative, observed that part of the sporting organisation’s social agenda includes health promotion.
“We are collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Wellness on a very important initiative, vaccination and a healthcare fair. The healthcare fair will focus on affording some of our national teams, male and female the opportunity to become familiarized with health issues that could affect them in their lives and throughout the game. Additionally in celebration of Vaccination Week we are partnering with the Ministry of Health to ensure that our national teams are vaccinated because most times they are due to travel to tournaments and we as an institution want to ensure that we promote health and healthcare to our players,” Fowell said.
She encouraged other associations, coaches and referees to participate in the vaccination drive organised by the Ministry of Health.
The SLFA official’s remarks were echoed by Jamil Joseph, Coach for the National under 15 Football Team.
“Basically what we’re trying to do is to get players vaccinated, keep healthy. So we want to bring it out to the wider public so players and sports men and sports women can get vaccinated and stay healthy,” Joseph observed.
The importance of vaccines was highlighted by Nurse Julietta Frederick-Cassius, Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunization.
“In addition to vaccines being our best defense against many diseases, it is the best preventative strategy in sustaining elimination or irradiation of vaccine preventable diseases among our population and keeping those diseases off our shores,” Frederick-Cassius noted.
The Ministry of Health aims to improve on the 95% vaccination coverage within every health region and community on island and is urging all persons to get vaccinated to protect themselves from vaccine preventable diseases.