Two weeks after it was found that monkeys are dying from yellow fever, the Ministry of Health has ramped up its yellow fever vaccination drive, inoculating almost 200 citizens in a fortnight.
However, there are still between 800 to 900 people who are yet to receive their yellow-fever vaccines.
Speaking at the Ministry of Health’s press briefing on Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Roshan Parasram said he has been liaising closely with County Medical officers to ensure that vaccinations are done.
“When we first raised the issue of yellow fever we had coverage of 89.2 per cent. Subsequently, I met all the CMO’s to put strategies in place to get that number up as quickly as possible,” he said.
He noted that public health officials were able to pull the medical notes of citizens to determine who did not get vaccinated and within two weeks a total of 192 people were vaccinated.
“This got the figure to 90.4 per cent,” Dr Parasram said.
However, he added, “The total number yet to get the yellow fever vaccine is 800 to 900 persons. When this is done we will get 100 per cent, not 95 per cent which is what the World Health Organisation recommends,” Dr Parasram added.
In late February, Laboratory testing by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) confirmed the howler monkeys in South Trinidad were dying from the yellow fever virus.
The virus is transmitted to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito of the Aedes or Haemagogus species. The mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans. However, there has never been a human case of Yellow Fever in the country since 1979.
Children are usually given the vaccine at age one and one inoculation provides lifelong protection.
People who have not received the vaccine should visit their nearest public health centre.