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Fewer children being immunized generally

Health officials in Barbados are concerned about the worrying trend of declining public immunization for children, even as they continue to battle hesitation among the general population regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Health and Wellness Minister Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostick revealed that the island’s child immunization rate has fallen by about 20 percent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and expressed concern that the epidemic could continue to spread. Negative impact on the island’s immunization program.

Bostik stressed the existence of other health programs and initiatives besides the national program for vaccination against the Corona virus, and said, “Apart from the Corona virus, our immunization schedule contains about 14 antigens against other diseases.”

Children are generally immunized from infancy to 15 years of age.

“Between 2011 and 2019, our stats were mostly in the ’90s — 90 percent absorption, excluding MMR2. What we’ve seen in the last two years is really that we’re now in the ’70s, and while some of that is related to COVID, we should be We are very, very careful not to have a domino effect with our programming,” Bostik said.

He was addressing an online forum on Friday in which UNICEF officially launched the forum UNICEF/USAID, Frequency Survey Report on the 2021 COVID-19 Vaccine.

The survey collected data from Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The findings on vaccine frequency are intended to help influence countries’ strategies to increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The research, which was conducted by Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) in October and November last year, showed that the majority of Barbadians were against giving primary and elementary school students a COVID-19 vaccine.

It showed that for Barbados, only 33 percent of respondents said yes they would agree to vaccinate preschool children against COVID-19 while 51 percent said no.

45 percent of those surveyed said they would not give the vaccine to primary school children, and 42 percent said they would.

Regarding high school level, 32 percent of respondents said they were against giving this group of students a COVID-19 vaccine while 58 percent said they would.

More people are in favor of children in post-secondary and college education receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, with 64 percent agreeing and only 25 percent saying they oppose it.

The main reasons for the vaccine’s reluctance regarding children in Barbados were young ages, and the fact that it was a choice.

Among the reasons individuals gave for deciding to vaccinate children were advice from a spiritual/religious leader, being persuaded by public health authorities, that they felt they had no choice and felt more comfortable that others had given their children and wanted to take their children abroad.
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