Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 23 May 2019 12am

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    Wednesday, May 22, 2019-8:04:20P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Official: Students not up-to-date with required vaccinations down 79%

THE number of CNMI public and private school students who were not up-to-date or NUTD with their required immunization has decreased by 79 percent, Immunization Program Manager Jeremy Sasamoto said.

There are 155 students in various schools who are still not up to date, he added.

When they began the assessment for School Year 2018-2019, Sasamoto said 1,076 students were NUTD.

He said the school vaccination program is an integral and critical tool in achieving overall public health goals which include preventing diseases from introducing into the community.

He said in SY 2017-2018, there were 1,998 NUTD students; in SY 2016-2017 — 2,157 students; and in SY 2015-2016 — 5,135 students.

“From SY 2015-2016 to SY 2018-2019 school year, NUTD student rates dropped by a whopping 79 percent,” he added.

He commended the Public School System, private schools and parents for doing their part and working with the Division of Public Health Services in keeping their children safe and protected from vaccine-preventable communicable diseases.

“We all play a part in keeping our kids safe from communicable diseases. We also contribute to the overall health of our entire community,” Sasamoto said.

As for the remaining 155 students, he advised them to get their required immunizations. He said they may be suspended from school until the immunization requirements are met. “This may sound harsh to some and maybe even unnecessary to others, but we live in a world where a communicable disease outbreak is only one flight away from becoming a reality.”

Sasamoto said it takes only one person to start an outbreak. “The worldwide measles outbreak is a perfect example of how vaccine hesitancy and apathy can cripple a community.”

He noted the measles outbreaks in Korea, Japan, China, the Philippines, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Colorado, Georgia among other places.

“An outbreak can occur anywhere at any time. And all those places have a direct link to the CNMI. A disease anywhere is a threat everywhere,” Sasamoto said.