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Vaccinate for Life

Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) from 22-26 April 2013

See also: Immunization


The Cayman Islands joins other countries around the Western Hemisphere in celebrating Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) from 22-26 April 2013.

For the 11th annual celebration the slogan is: Vaccination: a shared responsibility.

VWA is an extraordinary effort led by the countries and territories of the region to advance equity and access to vaccination. Since its inception in 2003, more than 410 million individuals of all ages have been vaccinated during campaigns conducted under the framework of VWA.

The initiative also provides a platform to raise population awareness regarding the importance of immunization, as well as to strengthen routine immunization programmes and improve vaccination coverage rates.

The success of VWA has served as a model for other regions of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the implementation of sister initiatives. Since 2005 other WHO regions which have launched their own Vaccination Week celebrations are: Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, the Western Pacific and the countries of South-East Asia. This led to the establishment of World Immunization Week (WIW) in 2012, which serves as an over-arching framework to unite all global efforts.

Regionally, and globally, great strides have been made in the reduction, elimination and eradication of diseases by immunization.

Global Milestone

Eradication of Smallpox – The World Health Organization declared the world free of Smallpox in 1980.

Regional (North America, Latin America & the Caribbean) Milestones

  • Elimination of indigenous Measles -the last case was reported in 2002. The Caribbean sub-region itself has been free of indigenous Measles for over 20 years.
  • Elimination of indigenous Rubella (German measles) - the last case reported in 2009.
  • Elimination of Polio in 1991.
  • Significant reduction of other vaccine-preventable diseases such as Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (Whooping cough).

National Milestones

Here in the Cayman Islands some local immunization successes include: Elimination of Polio - no reported cases since 1957.

  • Elimination of Diphtheria - no reported cases since 1983.
  • Elimination of Pertussis - no reported childhood cases since mid-1980s Elimination of Measles - no reported cases since 1990.
  • Elimination of Rubella (German measles) - no reported cases since 2000. Elimination of Mumps - no reported cases since 2007
  • Elimination of Tetanus in newborn babies (Neo-natal Tetanus) – no reported cases in decades.
  • Reduction of Chickenpox – from over 300 cases in 2000 to 52 cases in 2012.

Thus far, only one disease - Smallpox, has been eradicated from the globe. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to administer Smallpox vaccines to persons, in any part of the world. The next vaccine-preventable disease poised for eradication is Polio.

Health Services Authority Immunization Programme Manager Alice Jane Ebanks noted that: “Despite our successes in immunisation, some children still do not complete their vaccination schedules, leaving them vulnerable. There is no room for complacency and everyone needs to bear that in mind. As the slogan says, vaccination is a shared responsibility. All concerned stake holders must play their role in ensuring children and others are immunized”.

She warned, “If countries fail to achieve high immunisation coverages, the diseases will ultimately return.”

The Cayman Islands has a vaccination schedule that offers protection against a range of serious illnesses such as liver diseases caused by the hepatitis B virus; severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration caused by rotavirus; tuberculosis (infection of the lungs); haemophilus influenza b disease which can cause serious infection of the brain, spinal cord, blood or other organs; diphtheria (throat infection); tetanus(lockjaw); pertussis (whooping cough); paralytic disease(polio); measles that can cause blindness; mumps; rubella and chicken pox.

The current childhood immunisation schedule recommends that, by the age of 15 months, infants should have received the following vaccines, which offer protection against 13 diseases:

  • Three doses of Hepatitis B; (at birth, 6 weeks, 9 months)
  • One dose of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin – TB vaccine); (at 6 weeks)
  • Three doses of Rotavirus; (6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months)
  • Three doses of the combined DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), IPV (inactivated polio vaccine) and Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) at 2, 4, 6 months)
  • Three doses Pneumococcal vaccine (Prevnar) at 2, 4, 6 months)
  • One dose of Varicella (chickenpox) & booster of Pneumococcal (at 12 months)
  • One dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella); & a booster dose of combined DTaP and Hib. (at 15 months)
  • Children also need booster doses of combined DTaP and IPV and 2nd dose at school entry (4-5years)

In addition to the child immunisations, Public Health also offers vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases for adults. The most common diseases vaccine boosters are for tetanus and diphtheria (a combined shot) and the annual influenza (flu) vaccine.

In addition, if someone has never received any vaccines, they can visit Public Health Department or a District Health Centre by appointment and get the necessary immunisations that are appropriate for their age and health status. The Public Health Department also offers advice and vaccinations to travellers to various countries. Vaccines such as yellow fever and typhoid fever are available as recommended for specific destinations.

For information regarding immunisation, contact your private pediatrician or the following district health centres:


Public Health Department:244-2648
West Bay Health Centre:949-3439
Bodden Town Health Centre:947-2299
East End Health Centre:947-7440
North Side Health Centre:947-9525
Faith Hospital, Cayman Brac:948-2243
Little Cayman Clinic:948-0072


For information regarding immunisation, contact your private pediatrician or the following district health centres:

Adult Immunisation Schedule – Cayman Islands 2013


Vaccine ↓ Age >17 – 26 yrs27- 49 yrs50 – 59 yrs60 – 64 yrs>  65 yrs
Tetanus and diphtheria (Td)1 dose every 10 years or 5 yrs in case of contaminated injury
Influenza   - yearly

1 dose yearly

Pneumococcal VaccinePeople with specific medical conditions - 1-2 doses1 dose
Varicella (Chickenpox)People who have not had the vaccine or the disease 1– 2 doses
MeningococcalPeople with specific medical conditions; people living in residential accommodation e.g. students
Measles, Mumps, Rubella1-2 doses 
Hepatitis BPeople with medical , occupation or lifestyle risks and anyone who wants protection from Hepatitis B – 3 doses
Hepatitis APeople with medical , occupation or lifestyle risks and anyone who wants protection from Hepatitis A - 2 doses
Travel  Health VaccinesVaries by destination – Consult Public Health Dept or your doctor
HPV vaccine for Women3 doses to Complete Series 

Source: Public Health Department.