The CNMI Division of Public Health is advising the Commonwealth’s 138-strong delegation to this year’s Micronesian Games to get vaccinated before leaving for Yap next month.
Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia is hosting the ninth edition of the quadrennial Micro Games, but is currently experiencing a mumps (parotitis) outbreak.
The Micro Games is set from July 15 to 27.
In an email to Northern Marianas Sports Association president Michael A. White, DPH Communicable Disease Bureau immunization program manager Jeremy Sasamoto said the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine is free and they want to prevent mumps from entering the CNMI.
“I wish nothing but success for you and our athletes. I hope we bring back a bunch of medals. However, I’m afraid we may unknowingly bring back mumps to the CNMI as well,” said Sasamoto. “My job at [DPH] is to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases into our community.”
Even family members who will join the trip should also get immunized.
“We recommend that all persons going to Yap, including family members [and friends] accompanying athletes and coaches, be vaccinated with the MMR vaccine for protection against mumps 28 days before they depart,” said Sasamoto.
There’s still two weeks or 14 days before the delegation departs for Yap.
“The more people who get vaccinated, the more difficult it is for the diseases to be introduced and spread into our homes, our schools, and our places of work,” Sasamoto said, adding that Team CNMI should get immunized as soon as possible for antibodies to develop.
“One cannot get vaccinated today and be protected tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way. Vaccines need time to build antibodies in our system in order to fight and kill any diseases that enter our bodies.”
Sasamoto said he wants to make it convenient for Team CNMI. “I’m here to make that as easy and convenient as I possibly can. I’m willing to bring our services to our coaches, athletes, and their families to their homes, places of work, school, team meetings, team practices, anywhere our people will be. I’m willing to go there and provide the MMR vaccine for free, even after working hours and weekends.”
White has encouraged all groups that will be sending athletes, coaches, and officials to the Games to receive MMR shots before they leave for Yap.