The Ministry of Health has moved to expedite the second dose of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination for toddlers in The Bahamas after a confirmed case of measles was reported last month.
According to a February 21, 2019 memorandum from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen, toddlers will still be required to receive their first MMR vaccination at age one. The second dose will now be give to children who are 15 months.
The second dose was previously given to children between ages four and five.
The change takes effect April 1, the memorandum said.
“The region of the Americas was certified Rubella and Congenital Rubella free in 2015 and measles free in 2016,” Brennen wrote.
“There are currently outbreaks of measles in the region of the Americas (the United States of America, Venezuela and Brazil) and Europe, among others.
“As of January 18, 2019 (epidemiological update), 12 countries in the Americas reported measles cases.
“There was also confirmed imported measles reported in The Bahamas on February 21, 2019.
“This places The Bahamas at high risk to the reintroduction of measles, given that our country relies heavily on tourism.”
Brennen noted that the Pan American Health Organization’s technical advisory group recommended in 2015, among other things, that all countries “administer the second dose of MMR at 15-18 months with the goal of achieving the highest possible coverage”.
Brennen said, “In order to prevent the re-emergence of the measles disease in The Bahamas, the Ministry of Health’s goal is to ensure that all children are vaccinated as recommended above.”
In February, the Ministry of Health confirmed that a four-year-old boy visiting The Bahamas had measles.
According to the ministry, the parents gave a recent history of travel from Europe and a vaccination history for the child which did not include the MMR immunization.
Earlier this month, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands confirmed a second case of measles in The Bahamas.
“We now can confirm that the brother of the first patient developed signs and symptoms of measles but that child was quarantined and has posed no threat to any additional person,” he said.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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