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95% of NMI students up to date with required vaccinations, says health official

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NINETY-FIVE percent of students in CNMI schools are up to date with the required vaccinations, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Immunization Program manager Jeremy Sasamoto said.

“The risk of an outbreak of vaccine-preventable communicable diseases in our CNMI schools is much lower now than it ever has been,” he added.

Five years ago, he said, the overall coverage rate for required vaccinations in all CNMI schools combined was only 33 percent.

Today, Sasamoto added, the coverage rate is 95 percent.

“That translates to a lower risk of a vaccine-preventable communicable disease outbreak, such as measles, from occurring in our schools. This is the result of enforcing public health laws in our schools and a lot of hard work and dedication by [the CHCC-Division of] Public Health and our partners in health at [the Public School System] and all the private schools,” he said.

Sasamoto also commended parents for doing their part in ensuring that their children are safe and healthy by getting them vaccinated. “Students deserve the peace of mind to concentrate on getting an education and not have to worry about getting sick when they’re in school,” he added.

Sasamoto said the coverage against measles is high among children and adults up to age 29 years old.

But only about 50 percent of adults born after 1957 are vaccinated against measles, he added.

“We are encouraging all adults born after 1957 in the CNMI to get the MMR [or measles, mumps, and rubella] vaccine especially if you are travelling abroad or interact with foreign visitors often,” Sasamoto said.

For more information about measles or the MMR vaccine, call the CHCC-Division of Public-Health-Immunization Program at 236-8745 on Saipan, 433-9233 on Tinian, and 532-8700 on Rota. All Public Health immunization clinics are open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., including lunch time, and no appointments are needed.

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