25th April 2016
Antigua and Barbuda is hosting a week of activities to observe Vaccination Week in the Americas which is being held under the theme "Go for the gold! Get Vaccinated." Superintendent of Public Health Nurses (SPHN) and Manager of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) Nurse Coralita Joseph said the week runs from 23rd April - 29th April. On Saturday 23rd April and Sunday 24th April, Messages were read in the Churches while Monday and Tuesday's focus is on Media Day and Administration of Vaccines. Nurse Joseph noted that this year's Vaccination Week celebrations will be of special significance as Tuesday 26th April will be tagged "Switch Day", which will see the change over from the use of the Trivalent OPV to Bivalent OPV.
The SPHN meanwhile noted that the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) is also one of the vaccines developed to aid in the prevention and ultimate elimination of the Poliomyelitis Virus.
The IPV according to Nurse Joseph is highly effective in producing immunity against the polio virus. This vaccine which is injectable was introduced in November 2015 and is given to babies 2 to 4 months.
The 1st dose is given at two (2) months and the 2nd dose at four (4) months.
The IPV was recommended by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and most countries in the Americas and throughout the region have already introduced at least one dose.
Nurse Joseph explains that there are three types of the wild polio viruses; Type 1, 2 and 3 but the type  has been eliminated in the Americas which includes Antigua and Barbuda, and the end game is towards total elimination of the polio virus.
The regional switch from Trivalent Oral Polio Vaccine 1, 2 and 3, to the Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine 1 and 3 will see community clinics having a very busy day tomorrow (Tuesday).
The entire island is divided into nursing zones and training will be done by zones as it relates to the switch.
Zone One covers - All Saints and the eastern areas, Zone two - Grays Farm, Browne's Avenue and Southern areas and Zone Three  includes the Northern Areas and Bishopgate Street.
In continuing the list of activities for Vaccination Week in the Americas 2016, the SPHN said that Wednesday and Thursday will also be dubbed Media Day and Administration of Vaccines will continue on both days
On Friday 29th April will be Public Education Day for Nurses and Clients.
The SPHN also noted that April 24th April - 29th will be open days for regularization of Health Cards and immunization status for each client.
All concerned are asked to make use of this opportunity which will be conducted at the various community clinics and health centers island wide. Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) is an annual public health campaign by the member states of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to promote equity and access to immunization.
It is marked each year during the last week of April. Since 2012, the campaign has been celebrated globally across all regions of the World Health Organization (WHO) under World Immunization Week. The WHO reports there are 25 diseases for which vaccines exist for their prevention and control.
Last year's celebration of Vaccination Week in the Americas was held from 25th April - 2nd May 2015 under the regional slogan "Vaccination: Boost your power."
The Community Nursing Service was also launched in Barbuda last year during vaccination week.
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