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Significant Number Of Pupils Not Vaccinated

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

AS they move throughout schools in New Providence, Ministry of Health officials are finding a “significant” number of children are missing some of their needed vaccinations.

Realising this, there is an effort to target school aged children until the summer break, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Delon Brennen yesterday.

This is part of the government’s push to ensure people receive the measles vaccination — MMR1 — amid an international outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

“What we’re doing right now is not focusing on the general public,” Dr Brennen told The Tribune. “We’re actually going into the schools and focusing our efforts in the schools and making sure that our school children are caught up with their vaccines, not just measles, we are focused on measles because that’s the big concern right now, but we’re catching them up on other vaccines as well.

“So we want to do that until school lets out since we have a captive audience with the children being in school at the present, but once school lets out then we’ll go back to doing the general public again.”

Asked what health officials have discovered in the schools, Dr Brennen said: “I think there is a significant portion that are missing some of their vaccines. Most people aren’t missing all of their vaccines, they’re missing maybe one or two depending on the age group.”

Back in February, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands told The Tribune that nearly 50,000 people needed the MMR1 vaccine.

This included targeting 7,000 children between one to 15-years-old and 40,800 of them 16-years and older.

About two weeks after The Tribune exclusively reported this, two cases of measles were recorded.

The first case was seen in a four-year-old tourist.

It was discovered after the child had gone to a private health care facility in New Providence with the symptoms of the disease.

According to a statement at the time from the Ministry of Health, the parents gave a recent history of travel from Europe and a vaccination history for the child, which did not include the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation.

Not long after, the boy’s brother, 10, had to be quarantined because he also contracted measles.

They were the first two confirmed cases in The Bahamas in over 20 years.

No other local cases have been reported.

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