The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) announced that the region of the Americas, including the Cayman Islands, has once again received Polio free certification.
In 1994, the Region of the Americas was the first in the world to be certified and is now celebrating 25 years of Certification of Polio Elimination. The achievement aims to encourage the hope of living in a Polio free world – only Afghanistan and Pakistan still have new cases of polio present.
Of note, the Cayman Islands have been free from Polio since 1957 and boast 93% vaccination coverage.
Dr John Lee, Chief Medical Officer for the Ministry of Health, said, “The Public Health Department is tasked with the surveillance and prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases; this is a sign of a job well done. Their hard work and diligence has greatly helped to ensure the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands.”
As part of the effort to maintain Cayman’s Polio free status the Public Health Department includes, as part of their vaccination schedule, IPV (the inactivated polio vaccine) given to infants at two, four and six months of age.
“Polio is a debilitating and often fatal viral illness and we are proud to celebrate 62 Polio free years. The Cayman Islands, through the Public Health Department, maintains a robust vaccination schedule with a coverage rate of 95% for most vaccines. We encourage residents to continue to do their part to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” added Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, Medical Officer of Health.
According to the Polio Global Eradication Initiative, certification of Polio elimination is “conducted on a regional basis. Each region can consider certification only when all countries in the area demonstrate the absence of wild poliovirus transmission for at least three consecutive years in the presence of certification standard surveillance.”
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