Scores of persons yesterday marched from the Enterprise Health Centre to the Melanie Health Centre on the East Coast of Demerara, in observance of National Immunization Awareness Week, which is currently being celebrated in the Americas.
A number of children representing several primary and secondary schools on the East Coast accompanied by teachers, health care workers and staff from a number of health centres all participated in the march which marked the official launch of Vaccination Week.
With the theme: ‘Strengthen your defence! Get vaccinated”, the march, which was added to this year’s celebration, commenced a little after 9 am and participants were heard chanting “Get Vaccinated, Vaccines Work”
Medex Karen Ceres, who represented the Director of Regional Health Services, emphasised the importance of vaccination. She said that being vaccinated is important for healthy growth and development.
Ceres also touched on myths regarding vaccinations. “There are several myths regarding vaccination but the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) along with the Ministry of Public Health continues to dismiss these rumours and myths, as vaccination is safe and good,” she said.
Ceres also urged those in attendance to ensure that they help to spread the message.
“It’s important that whatever vaccination your body needs you get, as it will help the growth of your body in a healthy way. I would like you the children to tell your parents or guardians that you should be vaccinated whenever there is a need,” Ceres told the children at the launch.
Regional Executive Officer (REO), Pauline Lucas also urged those in attendance to recognise the importance of vaccination. She congratulated the Regional Health Department for what she dubbed as their vigilant approach to ensuring that the general public is kept abreast of what is happening and must be done.
“I congratulate the RHO (Regional Health Officer) and his team for ensuring that such events are not only properly organised but ensuring that the public is effectively informed and sensitized,” Lucas said.
The REO promised that her Regional Democratic Council will continue to lend the support required to the Health Department.
She reiterated the importance of vaccination. “As a mother myself I am aware of the importance of vaccination and would like to encourage all to take it seriously, as vaccination is critically important, thus I urge all to get vaccinated,” she explained.
Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Nurse Linda Johnson in her remarks spoke about the history of vaccines and its long and successful past. She told attendees that it (vaccines) will continue to play a pivotal role in the lives of both children and adults.
Johnson encouraged the nurses to continue outlining the benefits and importance of vaccination.
“Many times parents and guardians are not aware of the benefits of vaccination and you, the nurses, have an important role to play in educating and sensitizing them about vaccination,” she said.
Johnson also used the opportunity to speak about the importance of the HPV vaccines.
Regional Health Officer Dr. Quincy Jones, said that because of the success being achieved in halting the spread of many diseases, the public no longer sees an urgent need to be worried.
“We are seeing that more and more people are not focussed on the disease anymore, and thus we are seeing an increase in resistance to the vaccination that is being offered today, as the focus is more on the actual side effects of the vaccination,” he said.
At the launch, patrons were also treated to cultural items by Nabaclis, Mahaica Enterprise, Buxton and Melanie health centres along with several of the students who were in attendance.
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