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Apr 26, 2017

Vaccination and How It Helps Kids Stay Healthy

The Ministry of Health has embarked on an exercise this week to get persons immunized from a number of preventable diseases. At schools and work places, health personnel are encouraging individuals to “Get Vax to Celebrate a Healthy Tomorrow.” The vaccinations are being administered for free. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

For the past fifteen years, Vaccination Week in the Americas has been set aside by the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, to create awareness on the importance of getting immunized. This year, the event, which is being observed from April twenty-second to the twenty-ninth, is being recognized under the theme “#GetVax to celebrate a healthy tomorrow.” Locally, the Ministry of Health has turned up the beat and in the Belize District, including the cayes; medical officers have been out issuing various vaccines to adults and children.

 

Elsie Velasquez

Nurse Elsie Velasquez, Head, Maternal & Child Health Unit, Central Health Region

“For Central Health Region, we have plans for the whole of this week to do school visits, giving de-worming, vitamin A, iron and also giving those four year olds and five year olds who failed to reach to the health center to get their last vaccine, they will be provided with that as well. In addition to that, we also have construction worksites; most nurses will be reaching there and providing tetanus [shots] to protect them as well and of course Belize City Council and their workers—both at the dumpsite and through the Works Department—they will also be reaching there to provide vaccines to all their staff. In addition to that we also have within our region, the health workers getting all their full dose of vaccines that they need as well.”

 

From birth, individuals are placed on a vaccination schedule to receive both viral and bacterial immunizations for common childhood diseases, some which can cause severe pneumonia that can kill a child. That schedule would see children receive periodic vaccinations from four within the first year, and then one every other year until the age of five. But there have been some delinquency and this week is used to create further awareness on the importance to prevent many diseases.

 

Nurse Elsie Velasquez

“Vaccinations helps from the time you are born…when you get that first vaccine, it protects you; it helps your immune system—it boosts it up and protects you from lot of diseases, specifically those that can be spread. And it doesn’t stop there. Most people think that it is only from one to five, but we have other vaccines that we can give adults, healthcare workers, diabetics, hypertensives; for example we have the flu shot. So it is not only for children, it is for the entire population or community that we want to reach out.”

 

It’s more difficult for adults to get vaccinated and there is need for persons to engage in best health practices. The message by Nurse Elsie Velasquez, who heads the Maternal & Child Health Unit, is for public to access the services, which are offered for free.

 

Nurse Elsie Velasquez

“They just need to show up to the Health Center, they can ask for all the vaccines that they need or if they need to find out which vaccines they need, they can also bring along their immunization card and that can be provided right at the health center.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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