September 30, 2023

Vaccination Week in the Americas 2012

Pin It

The Cayman Islands joins other countries in the Americas in commemorating Vaccination Week in the Americas 2012. This year marks a public health milestone in our region with the tenth anniversary of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), which will be celebrated from 23 – 27 April with the slogan: “For you, for me, for everyone. Get vaccinated.” 

Launched in 2003, VWA is an annual hemispheric event, endorsed by the Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization. VWA was initially proposed in 2002, by the Ministers of Health in the Andean Region, following a measles outbreak in Venezuela and Colombia.  In the following years (2003 to 2011), as a result of activities conducted under the framework of VWA, more than 365 million people across all ages have been vaccinated against a variety of diseases. Country and territory participation in VWA is flexible and goals and activities for the initiative are chosen in accordance with national health objectives.

The success of VWA has served as a model for other regions of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the implementation of successful sister initiatives. Since 2005 other WHO regions, which have launched their own Vaccination Week celebrations are Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, the Western Pacific and the countries of South-East Asia.

This year, all the regions of the world will come together to celebrate the first World Immunization Week under the global slogan of Protect your world. Get vaccinated.”

The purpose of the campaign is to strengthen routine immunization programmes and improve vaccination coverage rates.

Regionally, and globally, great strides have been made in the reduction, elimination and eradication of disease by immunisation.  For example, indigenous measles has been eliminated from the whole American region (North America, Latin America & the Caribbean), with the last case reported in 2002. The Caribbean sub region itself has been free of indigenous measles for over 20 years.

Indigenous rubella (German measles) has also been eliminated from the American region with the last case reported in 2009. Polio was eliminated from the American region in 1994.  Other vaccine-preventable diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis have decreased significantly in incidence.

In the Cayman Islands some of the local immunisation successes include the fact that Cayman has had no cases of polio since 1957, no cases of diphtheria since 1983, no measles since 1990 and no cases of rubella since 2000. The last case of Tetanus occurred in 2003 in an elderly adult. No cases of Tetanus in newborn babies (Neonatal Tetanus) have been reported in many decades.

Thus far, only one disease – smallpox, has been eradicated. The world was declared free of smallpox in 1980. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to administer smallpox vaccines to any one, in any part of the world. The next vaccine-preventable disease poised for eradication is polio.

“Nevertheless, we must not become complacent. Despite such successes in immunisation, some children still do not complete their vaccination schedules, leaving them vulnerable. Parents must check against the schedule to ensure that their children are up-to-date with their immunisations,” noted Health Services Authority Immunisation Programme Manager Alice Jane Ebanks.

“If countries fail to achieve high immunisation coverages, the diseases will ultimately come back,” she warned.

Cayman has a vaccination schedule that offers protection against a range of serious illnesses such as liver diseases caused by the hepatitis B virus; severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration caused by rotavirus; tuberculosis (infection of the lungs); haemophilus influenza b disease which can cause serious infection of the brain, spinal cord, blood or other organs; diphtheria (throat infection); tetanus(lockjaw); pertusis (whooping cough); paralytic disease(polio); measles that can cause blindness; mumps; rubella and chicken pox .

The current childhood immunisation schedule recommends that, by the age of 15 months, infants should have received the following vaccines, which offer protection against 13 diseases:

Three doses of Hepatitis B; (at birth, 6 weeks, 9 months)

One dose of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin – TB vaccine); (at 6 weeks)

Three doses of Rotavirus ; (6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months)

Three doses of the combined DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) and Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) at 2, 4, 6 months)

Three doses Pneumococcal vaccine (Prevnar) at 2, 4, 6 months)

One dose of Varicella (chickenpox) & booster of Pneumococcal (at 12 months)

One dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella); & a booster dose of combined DTaP and Hib. (at 15 months)

In addition to the child immunisations, Public Health also offers vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases for adults. The most common ones being boosters for tetanus and diphtheria (a combined shot) and the annual influenza (flu) vaccine.

In addition, if someone has never received any vaccines, they can visit Public Health Clinic and get the necessary immunisations that are appropriate for their age and health status. Health advice is offered to travellers to various countries at the Public Health Clinic.  Vaccines such as yellow fever and typhoid fever are available as recommended for the specific destinations.

For information regarding immunisation, contact your private pediatrician or the following district health centres:

Public Health Department: 244-2648

West Bay Health Centre: 949-3439

Bodden Town Health Centre:             947-2299

East End Health Centre: 947-7440

North Side Health Centre: 947-9525

Faith Hospital, Cayman Brac:             948-2243

Little Cayman Clinic:             948-0072



Adult Immunisation Schedule – Cayman Islands 2012


Vaccine ↓     Age     >

17 – 26 yrs27- 49 yrs50 – 59 yrs60 – 64 yrs>  65 yrsTetanus and diphtheria  (Td)

                  Everyone , 1 dose every 10 years or 5 yrs in case of contaminated  injury 
Influenza   – yearly                             If  risk factor is present e.g. medical  I dose yearly
Pneumococcal  Vaccine                    People with specific medical conditions –  1-2 doses  Everyone
Varicella ( Chickenpox)                    People who have not had the vaccine or the disease 1– 2 doses 
Meningococcal        People with specific medical conditions; people living in residential accommodation e.g. students 
Measles, Mumps, Rubella       People who have not had the    vaccine  or disease  1-2 doses      People who have not had the    vaccine  or disease –  1 dose


Hepatitis B People with medical , occupation or lifestyle risks and anyone who wants protection from Hepatitis B – 3 doses 
Hepatitis A People with medical , occupation or lifestyle risks and anyone who wants protection from Hepatitis A – 2 doses
Travel Vaccines Varies by destination – Consult  Public Health Dept or your doctor


Source: Public Health Department.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind