World Immunization Week is being observed from April 24 to April 30. The aim is to promote the use of vaccines to protect persons of all ages against diseases. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. In today’s session of Ask the Expert’s, Nurse Sharon Cooper-Espinosa shared a synopsis on the history of Immunization week.
Sharon Cooper-Espinosa, Nurse Administrator, Expanded Program on Immunization: “The history of Vaccination Week in the Americas it actually started in 2002. There was an outbreak of Measles in Venezuela and Columbia and health ministers they got together from within the region and decided that we should continue this. Vaccination Week in the Americas strengthens our regular immunization programs in the Americas and it also identifies and reach populations who are most at risk for contracting vaccine preventable diseases.”
Espinosa also shared Belize’s achievement’s as it relates to the immunization program.
Sharon Cooper-Espinosa, Nurse Administrator, Expanded Program on Immunization: “We have sustained coverage for over 95% for over a period of ten years and I’m speaking specifically to our primary series, our BCG, our Pentavalent Vaccines, our Polio vaccines. We have maintained 95% or greater. We are currently vaccinating against thirteen diseases, we are in discussion for introducing two other new vaccines the Rotavirus vaccine and then the MOCH/OCAL vaccine. Last year I believe it was we had some cases of diarrhea and vomiting and some of them were in fact due to Rotavirus. We must say also that since 1981 we have not had a case of Polio in Belize, in 1991 we had our last case of Measles, Neonatal Tetanus 1997, Congenital Rubella Syndrome 1997 as well, Rubella 2001 so we see where the entire program has been working for us and we want this to continue.”
This year’s theme is “Love Trust Protect #getvax”.