Bermy Germy joins Health Minister Zane De Silva and Health Department nursing staff to launch World Immunization Week in Bermuda.<em> *Photo supplied</em>
Bermy Germy joins Health Minister Zane De Silva and Health Department nursing staff to launch World Immunization Week in Bermuda. *Photo supplied

MONDAY, APRIL 23: Serious diseases are just a plane ride away from Bermuda, Health Minister Zane De Silva warned today.

But Mr De Silva said immunizations could protect against once-common diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and tetanus.

He added: “Immunizations have been the most successful public health interventions that have saved the lives of children globally.

“Very few children in Bermuda are now directly affected by these diseases thanks to the community ensuring their children receive timely immunizations.

“These are diseases that in the past have caused much suffering and were responsible for the death of children at very young ages and, of course, continue to affect infants and children in many parts of the world.”

And he said: “There is a real threat of the introduction of these diseases back into Bermuda from persons travelling to Bermuda from areas where outbreaks of these diseases occur.”

Mr De Silva was speaking as he launched the Bermuda version of World Immunization Week – a global drive to make sure both adults and children are up to date with their shots – with help from “Bermy Germy”, a bug used to highlight the need to limit the spread of infection.

Mr De Silva said: “Throughout this week, the Department of Health wishes to encourage families in Bermuda to continue to make sure their children are immunized on time and according to the Bermuda schedule of immunization.”

He added that the Department of Health had created an adult immunization schedule, which will help older people who were not fully immunized as children and who may be at risk of transmitting diseases like whooping cough and measles.

Mr De Silva said: “Adults are encouraged to check that their shots are up to date, especially the tetanus, diptheria shot with the whooping cough component if they are under the age of 64.”

He added: “Healthcare workers and persons that work in high-risk occupations should consider following the recommended guidelines according to the Bermuda schedule for adult immunizations.

“Adults should plan to discuss potential immunizations they may require with their doctor at their next annual health check.”

Mr De Silva added that it is important for families to keep a lifetime record of the family’s shots to make sure they are fully protected.

More information is available at the Child Health/Travel Health clinics on 278 6460 or at childhealth@gov.bm.