Speaking on JTV's Big Story with Ms Cathy O. Richards on August 30, 2022, BVIHSA's Interim Chief Executive Officer and Acting Chief of Staff Dr June M. Samuel said, “This issue about parents having their children vaccinated, we would be aware and mindful that there is now a resurgence of polio in the US and there have been outbreaks of measles in the past as well.
“Now it is a very international world, people move from one place to the next very easily, so one of the issues is if we let our vaccination coverage fall too low then we lose the advantage of having the herd immunity and we have to maintain that so that is something that we don’t want to have to deal with, polio reemerging in the BVI.”
Adding her bit to the issue, the Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), Nurse Marina Fleming Bedeau, said the statistics of immunisation today leave much to be desired.
“The BVI had a history of boasting of having a coverage of 98% to 100% in childhood vaccine. We have seen a great decline in the uptake of the childhood vaccines since the COVID virus started.”
Nurse Fleming Bedeau reminded that the BVIHSA is still continuing to immunise children with childhood vaccines.”
The EPI Manager also disclosed that quite a few parents who visited the hospital have been refusing to have their children take the childhood vaccines, “Because of the same COVID.”
During the discussion with Ms Richards, it was shared that apart from the need for the territory maintaining its immunity status, parent and guardians are to fulfill the mandate for children returning or attending school for the first time.
“We have looked at various reasons why it happened initially. We say ok, parents and guardians are afraid to come out because of the lockdowns that we had, preventing them from coming, the social gathering, we had social distancing they were not coming to the clinic.”
She said there is now no excuse now for parents not getting their children immunised.