Press Release:- The Department of Health and Wellness in response to the growing outbreak of measles currently being recorded in a number of countries of the Americas and Europe is treating this as an opportunity to enhance its vaccination programme.
Saint Lucia’s Public Health officials have intensified efforts at enhancing its national vaccination coverage.
This includes identifying persons who have not received the required vaccines and providing the measles vaccines to persons whose vaccination status is not compliant with the established protocol.
The Department of Health’s efforts at improving measles vaccination coverage has been in train ahead of the recent outbreak being experienced globally.
Following a Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Survey conducted in 2015 by the Department of Health in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organization, a road map was developed for strengthening national coverage for Measles.
This resulted in a review of the vaccination schedule to improve the uptake of the two required doses for protection from measles infection.
The Department of Health has also strengthened its linkages with the Department of Education to monitor children enrolled in the school system, to assess their vaccination status and ensure compliance with the vaccination schedule.
The last case of active measles transmission in Saint Lucia was recorded in 1990. To date, Saint Lucia has maintained its status of being ‘measles free’ through a robust vaccination programme
implemented through the community based Primary Health Care system, alongside private sector vaccination services. In an effort to maintain the country’s ‘measles free’ status, the Department of Health reminds all that measles vaccine is available at all wellness centres nationally at no cost to clients.
The vaccine is administered in two doses; at 12 months and 18 months of age. Adults who are unsure of the vaccination status of their children are asked to visit their health care provider with their vaccination cards to verify their vaccination.
Infection with Measles can be prevented if persons are fully immunized against the disease.