This week the Turks and Caicos Islands join the Region of the Americas in celebrating Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA)April 24th to 30th, 2022 under the theme “Are you fully vaccinated? #getallyourshots”.The effectiveness of vaccines provides a safety net to us all; those who can receive and those of us who cannot receive vaccines.Vaccinating not only protects individuals who have been vaccinated, but also protects those in the community who are unable to be vaccinated. Vaccines remain the number one public good and their benefits are undeniable-from the eradication of smallpox to the elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).
This is the 20th year that the Region is celebrating VWA.The dedicated week began as part of a response to an outbreak of measles in the Americas which took place between Venezuela and Colombia in 2002.To prevent future emergencies such as these, the Ministers of Health proposed the idea of a coordinated initiative. Since the start of VWA, VPDs (vaccine preventable diseases) have been eliminated from 6 Regions and 908,000,000 persons have been vaccinated.Expanded programmes on immunization continue to make great achievements, but they must remain vigilant to maintain these gains.
This year the TCI will maintain its focus on protecting the population. The objective of this week is to provide access to vaccines for all residents, increase vaccination coverage in all antigens, and raise awareness about the importance of childhood vaccinations, vaccine safety and effectiveness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted immunization programmes in many countries which has resulted in some countries experiencing outbreaks of VPDs. Neighbouring countries including countries within easy reach of the TCI are experiencing outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) such as Diphtheria and Measles, so it is important to ensure that the TCI population is well protected.
While the TCI has very good immunity (90% and over), we continue to aim for greater coverages and to maintain those coverages.If you are unsure about your protection against VPDs, you should seek advice from your primary care physician.
If your child/children are missing a vaccine(s), please call your local primary care clinic for an appointment to bring your child/children up to date.
The MOH would also like to take this opportunity to remind persons eligible to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, to get vaccinated. Boosters, including the fourth dose, are available for eligible persons through health care facilities throughout the TCI. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is the best means of protecting yourself and others against COVID-19 and helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic.Help us keep the TCI, VPD free! #GetVax #vaccineswork