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Wilson emphasises value of vaccination

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Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, centre, speaks during the first day of Vaccination Week in the Americas today. Also pictured: chief nursing officer Laura Lynn Jackson, left, and Genieve Williams-Hart, acting manager of the Expanding Programme on Immunisation (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, has encouraged the community not to listen to medical misinformation online and to get vaccinated against various diseases.

Ms Wilson, who spoke on the third day of Vaccination Week in the Americas, emphasised the importance of vaccines against conditions such as measles, mumps, rubella and the Human Papillomavirus Infection.

The minister explained: “The HPV vaccine can shield against genital warts and several types of cancers, including cervical, penile, anal, throat, head and neck cancers.”

She also said the resurgence of measles in many countries had increased the chances of the highly contagious disease reaching the island’s shores.

As of April 18, 125 cases of measles were recorded in 18 US States this year, and 1,109 have been found in the United Kingdom since October.

Ms Wilson said: “Factors contributing to this outbreak are vaccine hesitancy, suboptimal vaccination coverage and gaps in immunity”.

She attributed much of the reluctance surrounding vaccines to misinformation online.

Genieve Williams-Hart, acting manager of the Expanding Programme on Immunisation, believes this hesitancy is due to lack of knowledge.

Ms Williams-Hart explained: “People tend not to understand what the vaccines can do and how effective it is for them and their children and how it protects the society.

“We try to educate them as healthcare professionals and that is what we are trying to do for vaccination week.”

David Kendell, director of the Department of Health, highlighted how people unvaccinated against measles would have to take precautionary measures for a “particularly long time” if exposed to the disease.

However, those vaccinated against the virus could largely continue with normal life.

Workers from the Department of Health greet motorists on Crow Lane to mark Vaccine Week in the Americas (Photograph supplied)

To mark Vaccine Week in the Americas, workers from the Department of Health greeted motorists on Crow Lane this morning.

A workshop for all healthcare workers will be held on Wednesday from noon to 4pm.

People can get up-to-date with their vaccinations at a free “catch-up clinic” at the department’s Victoria Street facility on May 1, from noon to 4pm.

The ministry will also host a panel discussion “Let’s Talk Vaccination”, on Facebook Live on May 25, starting at 5.30pm.

Ms Wilson encouraged people to download the Healthy People BDA app for up-to-date information about vaccines, health services and other medical issues.

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Published April 22, 2024 at 7:30 pm (Updated April 22, 2024 at 8:01 pm)

Wilson emphasises value of vaccination

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