Bridgetown, Barbados, 2 May 2023 (PAHO) – The Ministry of Health and Wellness joined the region of the Americas to observe Vaccination Week (VWA) held 22-29 April 2023. In collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other partners there was an action-packed week to commemorate the occasion.
Several people turned out to participate in the Family Health and Fun Fair held 22 April at the National Botanical Gardens. This free community outreach event featured activities including vaccination opportunities for children and adults, blood pressure and blood sugar screening, mental health counseling and stress management, sexually transmitted infections (STI) counseling and testing, a fun zone for kids, PSA testing, school choir competition, line dancing and nutritional counseling and meal plan.
PAHO participated in the event by erecting an exhibition to display key milestones of the organization in general and specific to the Caribbean. Communication materials for Vaccination Week in the Americas were also displayed and disseminated. Videos produced by PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO) about vaccine preventable diseases like smallpox, polio, the benefits of vaccines and the official VWA 2023 campaign video were shown.
Organizers of the Barbados VWAs activities were featured on radio interviews both prior to the start of and during the week to educate the public about VWAs and share information on planned events.
Sunday 23 April, a church service was held at the Hawthorne Methodist church to observe the week of activities. Staff from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and PAHO were in attendance. Dr Amalia Del Riego, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries and Mr. Wayne Marshall, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Wellness gave remarks at the service.
At the regional launch of VWA held 24 April, it was an honor to have Barbados’ Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott represented to give a video message.
Open days for the public were held at some of the island’s polyclinics. On 25 April, Dr Amalia Del Riego was pleased for the opportunity to tour three polyclinics accompanied by Dr Anton Best, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Mr Wayne Marshall Acting Permanent Secretary and Chief Public Health Nurse Norma Bynoe.
On 27 April, approximately 90 people attended the webinar for clinical health workers. There were presentations on the global, regional, and local situation in relation to childhood vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases; acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) and rash and fever surveillance; and enhancing accessibility to vaccines and immunizations.