BY LAW

The Department of Health is pushing for legislation to make children’s vaccinations mandatory. Already some countries like Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Germany have gone that route.

The law, which could come into effect as early as June would make vaccination against measles and other diseases mandatory for all children attending nurseries and schools, as well as adults.

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The move by the Ministry of Health here is in response to the quadrupling of measles cases this year alone. A cruise ship-Freewind-had to be quarantined in port Castries after a crew member developed symptoms of the condition

St. Lucia has not recorded a measles case since 1990.

Although the vessel has since left St. Lucia, local authorities are doing all they can to protect the population against the virus, including through mandatory vaccinations.

According to the island’s chief medical officer, the department has been working on such legislation for quite some time.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James – Chief Medical Officer

19:27 “Now I don’t wish to share…

20:35 end of June.”

A number of governments worldwide have in recent months have taken similar steps.

In some US states, children cannot access public schools without being vaccinated; in Australia, compliance with childhood immunization schedules has been linked to pre-school admission

Trinidad and Tobago has taken a position that children who are not vaccinated against the illness will not be allowed in schools come the new academic year.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James – Chief Medical Officer

13:34 “It is mandatory…

14:40 in the law.”

After the Freewind incident health officials have gone out of their way to reassure the public that St. Lucia is not in danger of an outbreak. They will be commencing a vaccination sensitization campaign soon to educate the public about the importance of immunization.

Dr. Fredericks-James was a guest on DBS’s News Maker Live.

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