Thursday 6th September, 2018 –Health Minister Molwyn Joseph is emphasizing the importance of public education if Antigua and Barbuda is to reach full coverage in the immunization programme against Measles.
Speaking on Wednesday at a media briefing, the health minister stated that the Caribbean was the first to eliminate Rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome and Measles. But recent outbreaks around the world have resulted in the region losing its validation of eliminating the infection, prompting the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization to appeal to countries to make every effort to vaccinate their citizens.
For Antigua and Barbuda, Minister Joseph revealed that the results have been favourable, but he is aiming for full coverage to prevent a potential outbreak.
In January this year, Antigua treated a case of imported measles, a visitor from the United Kingdom. The patient was isolated and those who travelled with her were quarantined.
The health minister says it has been proven that vaccines can save lives, noting that before, epidemics resulted in numerous deaths.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine.
Also called rubella, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. While death rates have been falling worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of 5.