SANTO DOMINGO – Dominicans on Wednesday jammed health centers seeking to be vaccinated against diphtheria following an epidemiological alert prompted by the death of a Haitian child.
People of all ages flocked to health centers amid generalized panic which, according to Dominican Medical Association (CMD) president Wilson Roa, was stirred up by “misinformation.”
One such center is the capital’s Los Alcarrizos municipal hospital which, as EFE reporters witnessed, was packed with people, many of whom had already received immunization against the disease.
“Culturally, our people are not keen on prevention,” Roa told reporters. “It is not a priority of the state.”
Roa urged health authorities to take disease control measures in vulnerable locations that have seen cases of diphtheria due to the risks posed during the Holy Week festivities, when many thousands of Dominicans travel for vacation.
Last year, three confirmed cases of the illness were reported, although no deaths occurred.
The country’s health authorities on Monday issued an epidemiological alert following the death of a 4-year-old boy from the Haitian city of Belladere on Sunday.
The child fell ill within hours of his arrival in the capital from Belladere on March 21 and was rushed last Saturday to a hospital, where he died the next day.
Despite issuing the disease alert, the Ministry of Health said that “there is no reason for the public to be alarmed,” as the country “has enough vaccine for everybody at no cost.”