by Linda Straker
- Mandatory for children to be immunised to be accepted into school system
- Parents should make use of window of opportunity before vaccines expire
- Many childhood vaccines are manufactured by Serum Institute of India
Dr Shawn Charles Acting Chief Medical Officer said that Grenada is one of the countries that will have a delayed receipt of its shipment of mandatory childhood vaccines because of disruption in the supply chain linked directly to the Covid-19 global public health outbreak.
“Covid-19 has caused lots of disruption including supply chain issues. Now, what must also be made known is that many of these childhood vaccines are manufactured by the largest manufacturer in the world which is the Serum Institute of India,” he said.
In response to a question about the apparent shortage of childhood vaccines within the public health system, Charles said, “So, expect some delays due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19. Some of the disruptions in receiving these childhood vaccines have come from this very process, so the disruption that are caused by supply chains throughout the world is resulting in delays of receiving some of these vaccines.”
Grenada sources its vaccine for childhood immunisation through a PAHO facility called the PAHO Revolving Fund which is the same mechanism where most countries in the region source vaccines. These vaccines are given to a child starting at 6 weeks until 6 years. They include vaccinations against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DPT) and polio (IPV).
Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that he is aware that stocks of the childhood vaccines are close to expiration. “I am aware of previous stocks coming close to their expiration date, so therefore community health nurses are deciding not to use and wait for new stocks and that may have resulted in some delays of individuals,” he said about the pending shortage.
Calling on parents to always operate under the general principles of safety first, Steele, who believes that vaccines build health immunity, wants parents to make use of the window of opportunity before the vaccines expire.
In Grenada, it’s mandatory for children to be immunised in order to be accepted into the school system. The Public Health (School Children Immunisation) Act says that “no child shall be admitted as a pupil to a pre-primary school, primary school, private school or all-age school unless he or she produces to the Principal thereof a certificate of immunisation with respect to every communicable disease.”