Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 26, 2017 (SKNIS): “The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has a long and positive history of health promotion and preservation through the administration of vaccines,” said the Hon. Wendy Phipps, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, Social Services, and Community Development and Gender Affairs.

Minister Phipps was at the time addressing the nation in commemorating the 15th Vaccination Week in the Americas (VMA), which runs from April 24-30 under the slogan, “Get vax to celebrate a healthy tomorrow.”

The year 1978 saw the beginning of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) which now administers more than 11 routine vaccines to the public. This includes Diphtheria, Pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, BCG and others.

“Our country’s current vaccine coverage now stands at an average of 97 percent of our target population,” Minister Phipps stated as she spoke about plans to introduce vaccines against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Influenza. She further stated that Influenza type B vaccine was introduced since 2000 and is being administered to infants to prevent Meningitis and Pneumonia.

Minister Phipps added that the already successful immunization coverage on the island has been due to a number of factors including a solid foundation, well-trained and professional public health nurses, strong and clear governmental support, and continuing public education and awareness of our people on the benefits of vaccination.

“I take this opportunity to urge all of our citizens and residents to support the various activities planned for the observance of Vaccination Week in the Americas 2017,” said Minister Phipps as she further urged the public to also take advantage of the health services offered to them.