Bridgetown, Barbados, 19 April 2023 (PAHO/WHO) - Reinforcing the confidence Barbadians have long placed in the value of routine childhood immunization, will be the primary objective when the Ministry of Health and Wellness joins the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and territories of the Americas, along with other partners, to celebrate the 21st annual Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), and the 12th World Immunization Week (WIW) beginning April 22nd, ending April 29th, 2023.
The theme for the week will be: “Get Up to Date:#EachVaccineCounts” and Barbados will commence celebrations from Friday, April 21st with a lineup of engaging public events. These annual events are celebrated in the last week of April in an effort to educate the public about the necessity of vaccines and highlight the collective action needed to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
The Ministry’s organizing committee emphasizes that the goal for this VWA is to accelerate the achievement of specific objectives, including: reducing child mortality, morbidity, and disability associated with vaccine-preventable diseases; re-establishing the targeted 95% vaccine coverage in children under five years old; and reassuring the population of the efficacy, safety, and benefits of vaccines and immunization.
“Our goal this year is to reach and sensitize members of the population to the benefits of routine immunization and return vaccination rates to pre-pandemic levels of 95% or higher. We will redouble efforts to reach those who have missed their vaccines, reemphasize the benefits of vaccines to individuals throughout the life cycle, as well as to rebuild trust and confidence in vaccines, which have been subjected to misinformation,” stated Juleyette Serrano, chairperson of the organizing committee.
To participate and show their support, Barbadians are urged to save the date and come out in their numbers to support the activities.
Major public activities will include the Family Health and Fun Day at the National Botanical Gardens on Saturday, April 22nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This exciting community outreach event will feature FREE adult and childhood vaccines and other healthy-lifestyle activities for everyone. A commemorative church service will also be held from 9:00 a.m. at the Hawthorn Memorial Methodist Church, Worthing, Christ Church, on Sunday, April 23rd.
The public is also invited to take advantage of several Polyclinic Open Days from Monday, April 24th to Wednesday, April 26th, and again on Saturday, April 29th. Walk-ins are welcomed between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and childhood or adult vaccines will be available. Participating Polyclinics on Saturday 29th include Branford Taitt; Winston Scott; and Randal Phillips.
Leading up to this year’s Vaccination Week of the Americas, Barbadians are urged to listen out for the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) public announcements providing details about other associated activities.