Vaccination Day for Children and the Elderly at Centro de Migraciones

Cucúta, Colombia, December 3, 2020 – In order to start, continue, and complete the vaccination schedules for the population served at Centro de Migraciones of the Scalabrinian Missionaries and in coordination with the E.S.E Imsalud, vaccination sessions were started so that migrants can access the Expanded Immunization Program.

In the immunization outline that every human being must receive, vaccines are the safest method to prevent diseases and save lives. The health personnel, who provided medical assistance on the day at the Scalabrinian shelter, showed that the majority of children under 5 years of age from Venezuela had not been given the vaccination scheme.

The deficiency with which the migrant population arrives in the area of immunization and essential health services is the main objective of the vaccination day, especially in this time of the pandemic. It has been a determining factor in working together with health providers in the city to assist through these activities to counteract respiratory diseases due to the winter season and the pandemic.

According to the vaccination outline in Colombia, 21 free vaccines protect against 26 transmitted diseases, of which they help to counteract the following pathologies: chickenpox, diphtheria, flu, whooping cough, and yellow fever. For children under one year of age, the triple viral dose (measles, rubella, mumps) should be applied.

For the prevention of cervical cancer in girls and adolescents from 9 to 18 years of age, the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV) was applied. Children under 5 years of age and adults over 50 years of age who are in the population group with the highest risk of complications, were also vaccinated, thus minimizing the risk of morbidity and mortality of the guests of the shelter.

The vaccines of the normal outline for adults that are applied are those for tetanus, and for those over 50 years, it is reinforced with the influenza vaccine (flu) because of the virus outbreaks that this winter season leaves and the threat of the COVID-19 virus.

These vaccination days are complemented during the week with the assistance of other organizations and health providers such as Samaritan’s Purse and Americares on issues of nutrition, screening, general medicine, and medication delivery.

The desperate families arrive in Colombia by trails and crossing the river risking their lives. According to estimates by Migración Colombia, by November 2020 more than 200 Venezuelans enter the Norte de Santander department every day, as a result of the prolonged economic crisis and a collapsed health system.