Infant and childhood vaccination in 90 percentage range
– Min. Anthony
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony has said Guyana has maintained a robust immunisation programme over the years, which has allowed the COVID-19 vaccination campaign to start off strong and move steadily forward as the pandemic prevails.
He said the nation’s children are also up to date with their vaccines, during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update.
“Generally, with the COVID 19 pandemic, we have seen countries have not been able to maintain their immunisation programmes, especially in the under-fives.
However, despite those challenges, we strive to ensure that we are able to immunise most of the children who require their vaccine,” the Minister said.
Additionally, recognising the constraints the pandemic imposed, the Government, during the latter part of last year held a special outreach programme so children who missed their vaccines during the year could be immunised.
Some of the vaccines that were given are the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which is a vaccine primarily used to prevent tuberculosis and the Pentavalent vaccine, also known as a 5-in-1 vaccine, which protects children from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) which causes pneumonia and meningitis.
Minister Anthony said due to national efforts, Guyana’s immunisation rates were quite comparable with the rates of the previous year. For BCG, the country achieved 95 per cent coverage; the Penta vaccine, 92 per cent; the Rota vaccine, 96 per cent; the PCV-13, 90 per cent; the IPV, 88 per cent; the MMR, 100 per cent and he yellow fever, 93 per cent.
“So, by and large, most of the antigens that we’ve been using, we are in the 90’s, with the exception of the IPV vaccine. And I think these results speak for themselves.
Despite the challenges we’ve had, we have been able to do quite well in terms of vaccination coverage.”
Dr. Anthony added that overall, the Government, through the Ministry, has done quite well in terms providing its traditional vaccination coverage across the nation.
“All the regions have done exceptionally well. The regions that were in the 90’s: Region Four, where we had 89 per cent coverage for all the antigens that I have mentioned; Region Eight at 80 per cent and Region 1o at 83 per cent.
The other regions, they’re all in the 90’s, high 90’s, so, they’ve done exceedingly well,” he said.
Immunisation helps to prevent the spread of diseases and protect infants and toddlers against dangerous complications. A week of observations for Immunisation week was recently held by United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), which made a special appeal that no child should die from preventable diseases.