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T'dad Education Minister reaffirms stance on vaccinations

Published:Sunday | May 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Education Minister Anthony Garcia has come out in support of recent statements concerning the vaccination and immunisation of children across Trinidad and Tobago.

The education ministry, in a statement said, misinformation has been shared on social media surrounding the administration of the measles vaccine alluding to complications for children after receiving the vaccination.

The ministry is reminding parents that for the entry of a child into primary school they must be fully vaccinated.

Garcia has also reminded school principals that an immunisation record must be presented by all parents during registration.

Yesterday, the government announced that students who have not been vaccinated against measles will not be allowed to attend school from the new semester  that starts in September.

According to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, some students who have not been vaccinated were being allowed into the education system due to insufficient checks made by schools.

The government said that the ban is in accordance with the Public Health (Nursery Schools and Primary Schools Immunisation) Act Section 3 (1) which states that “no person may be admitted into any nursery school or primary school unless he produces to the principal thereof a certificate of immunisation with respect to every communicable disease”.

Deyalsingh said he was putting parents, guardians and school officials on notice that it is the ministry’s intention to “rigidly apply the law” as it relates to measles, mumps and rubella vaccines (MMRI and II).

The health minister said while Trinidad and Tobago does not currently have a measles outbreak, the ministry will embark on a vaccination drive to keep the virus out, as there have been concerns of measles entering Venezuela, Brazil and St Lucia.

There is an outbreak of measles in the United States where at least 704 people have been sickened this year by the highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease.

Last month, the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CAROHA) urged people in the region to get vaccinated, noting that safe and effective vaccines have been available for many years, and can prevent deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.