UNICEF and PAHO's "booster shot" to Jamaica's Immunization Efforts
UNICEF Jamaica is giving a “booster shot” to Jamaica’s Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) with the donation of two vehicles, 200 vaccine carriers as well as latex gloves, ice packs and vaccine thermometers to the Ministry of Health. A formal presentation of the supplies will be made in September to the Health Ministry.
The vehicles and supplies will be used by the Ministry in support of their Expanded Programme on Immunisation to increase immunisation coverage in the 0-5 age group living in hard-to-reach areas.
Jamaica’s immunisation rates, which were among the best in the region, have been declining rapidly in recent years. In fact, the immunisation rates for all vaccines fall far below the island’s target of 95% coverage, despite the fact that public knowledge and awareness of the importance of vaccination is high.
In cooperation with PAHO, UNICEF has supported the EPI over the years by providing immunisation cards, training for staff and early childhood practitioners in selected parishes, incentives for children vaccinated, registers and vests for health workers, supporting outreach sessions and providing cold chain supplies such as vaccine carriers and refrigerators.
In 2004 UNICEF provided support, in the amount of US$100,000, to Jamaica’s involvement in Vaccination Week of the Americas (April 24-30). UNICEF’s activities included procuring vaccines for 28,000 children, providing 160 vests for Immunisation Team workers, providing adverse events registers and older child vaccine registers and printing posters, flyers and stickers.