Sunday, Aug 25, 2019
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An emphasis of the importance of vaccinations

Health officials have work to do. The Ministry of Health said yesterday it is looking for people who may have come into contact with a four-year-old tourist, who was hospitalized in Nassau with a confirmed case of measles, the first in the country since 1997.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands confirmed the measles case yesterday.

“The test results received today have confirmed measles,” he said.

Sands would not say where the child was being kept, noting only that he was hospitalized in Nassau.

He said the disease was likely not contracted in The Bahamas. The child traveled from Europe, officials said.

Measles is very contagious. It can kill. There is a measles vaccine but the anti-vaccine movement, fueled by debunked science linking vaccines to autism, has influenced people across the world not to vaccinate.

It is estimated that 15,000 children in The Bahamas need to be vaccinated.

The invention of the vaccine, for a host of infectious diseases, is one of the major factors that contributed to the growth of human populations and the expansion of life expectancy in most countries in the 20th century.

While it is reasonable to discuss issues such as the proper storage of vaccines, ensuring they are not expired and the schedule in which they should be administered, there is no reputable science stating that vaccines should not be taken because they are dangerous.

Sands expressed concern over the current level of vaccine coverage in the country, noting that at least 95 percent is necessary for herd immunity, but that there was only 91 percent coverage in 2017.

However, he said the ministry is working to address the issue.

“The ministry is currently conducting an MMR campaign targeting all children 10 years and younger as well as frontline workers such as police, customs and immigration officers, healthcare workers and hospitality industry workers,” he said.

“The aim is to increase the national MMR coverage in children and the persons at highest risk for exposure.

“Government clinics will provide increased access to vaccines by extending immunization sessions through opening hours.

“Additionally, schools, workplaces and planned community events will also be outreach sites.”

Measles can easily be prevented by vaccinations. Those who think the illness is trivial need only google and read about its devastating effects. Though vaccinations are mandatory in The Bahamas, the law alone cannot maintain the protection rates needed to stop the spread of these illnesses.

We the people must believe in reputable science. We must make sure our children are vaccinated and protected. Do not listen to people who push foolishness. If you do, you put your children and family at risk. The consequence of believing nonsense could ultimately be death.

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