BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 26th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Members of the Federal Cabinet this afternoon participated in commemorating the 14th Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) that is being observed between April 23rd and 30th. The regional slogan for VWA 2016 is “Go for the gold! Get vaccinated!”
Rhonda Lowry-Robinson, the Deputy Coordinator of Community Nursing Services, and community nurses Davida Irish and Shelomi Pennyfeather vaccinated Cabinet members against yellow fever then presented them with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Revaccination Against Yellow Fever.
The Deputy Coordinator of Community Nursing Services said a request was made to the Cabinet for community nurses to visit and vaccinate its members.
“Every year, we target persons who do not usually come to us, so we bring the service to them. We thought that the Cabinet would be a good group of persons to vaccinate because we looked at their risk – they travel, and we are certain that they travel to countries that are endemic for yellow fever. We want them to be safe when they travel,” Nurse Lowry-Robinson said. She added that this is the first time to her knowledge that Community Nursing Services has come to a session of the Federal Cabinet to vaccinate members.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, under the International Health Regulations (IHR), travelers who arrive in a country with a yellow fever vaccination entry requirement without proof of yellow fever vaccination may be quarantined for up to 6 days, refused entry, or vaccinated on site.
Today (Tuesday, April 26th), the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a news release, reminding all travelers to Angola in southern Africa that they are required to receive the yellow fever vaccination and to have a valid certificate of vaccination to prove that they are protected from the disease. The news release adds that 1,975 suspected cases of yellow fever (618 laboratory confirmed) and 258 deaths have been reported since an outbreak of yellow fever began there in December 2015.
The release continues: “Amid concerns that the virus will spread to other urban areas and to neighbouring countries, a large-scale vaccination campaign was launched in February 2016 and has so far reached almost 7 million people…A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 10 to 14 days. A single dose vaccination, however, provides protection for life and is both safe and affordable. It is effective 10 days after the date of immunization.”
Closer to home, the World Health Organization says that yellow fever is endemic in 10 South and Central American countries and in several Caribbean islands, with Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela at greatest risk. French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are on WHO’s list (2015) of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
The Aedes aegypti, which spreads the Zika virus, dengue fever and chikungunya, is the mosquito that most commonly transmits yellow fever.