Deyalsingh pleads: parents get children vaccinated

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh speaks with shoppers at Trincity Mall about the concentration of sugar in different types of food during a health fair at the mall on Saturday. – Tyrell Gittens

With the full reopening of the education sector on April 19, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh is once again calling on parents to get their children vaccinated against early childhood diseases.

Deyalsingh made the call while speaking at a health fair on Saturday in Trincity Mall to launch local Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) celebrations.

Organised by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to promote equitable access to vaccines, VWA is observed annually during the last week of April.

Deyalsingh pleaded, “Parents who have young children, as your children go back out to physical school…you have to get them vaccinated for childhood diseases. It is the law and has always been the law.

“We want to encourage you to take your children for these lifesaving medications called vaccines.”

He pointed out that in 2015 and 2016, TT was declared rubella and measles free, respectively, because of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

But in February, Deyalsingh said the Health Ministry was concerned of a reemergence of these diseases after it was noted there was a decrease in the number of children being taken to get their MMR vaccine.

At that time, Deyalsingh said no more than 85 per cent of children received their MMR vaccination.

The country requires 95 per cent of children to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against MMR.

Deyalsingh is also once again pleading with people to get vaccinated against covid19.

“On the covid19 front, we have vaccinated roughly 51 per cent of the population but that is not is not good enough.

“In this mall, if one in two people are vaccinated, you stand a very good chance of standing next to someone who is not vaccinated and you are taking a risk.”

Pointing out economic activity has increased with the relaxation of nearly all of the country’s covid19 restrictions, Deyalsingh said people must not forget the virus is still present and can do harm.

“Look at this mall, it is now open. If you had come to this mall a year ago, it was shut.

“One of the reason the mall is open, we are here shopping and people are earning their living is because of vaccination. So let’s continue to do our bit to save TT from covid19.”