195,000 children Being Targeted As Part of Measles Prevention Campaign

Approximately 195,000 children age 1-6 years are being targeted for measles vaccination as part of the Ministry of Health’s Measles Prevention Campaign which was launched on Monday, February 16, 2015 at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson who made the disclosure explained that the campaign which will run from February 16, 2015 to May 8, 2015 will cost about $54.4 million.

“Although this campaign will largely focus on the provision of the MMR vaccine including the booster dose, it will also provide other vaccines available in the public sector which the children may have missed,” he said.

The Minister added that “the main objectives are to capture those who have not been fully immunized for their age in order to improve the overall immunization coverage in Jamaica, more importantly to provide adequate protection in order to reduce the susceptible population for measles in children and at the same time have an impact on other vaccine-preventable diseases such as rubella.”

The campaign will run concurrently in all parishes in three phases. Phase one will target children attending clinics at the Health Centres for routine immunization services such as the eighteen-month booster doses.  Phase two will seek to capture children at the Basic, Infant, Primary schools and Day Care centres and Phase three will focus on targeted community outreach for those who were not immunized in phases 1 and 2.

Currently, the immunization statistics reveal that the measles vaccination has fluctuated from a low of 81% in 2011 to a high of 94% in 2013.  The coverage for the second dose is even lower. The target coverage for both doses is 95% or greater.

Through the success of Immunization, Jamaica had the last case of locally transmitted measles in 1991.