Lupus Patients urged to get vaccinated

28 Sep 2021 6:52 PM | Anonymous

THE Lupus Foundation of Jamaica says a number of lupus patients are still holding off on being vaccinated against COVID-19 because they are waiting to have questions answered or to get permission from their doctors. 

In a release yesterday, the foundation said that accessing their doctors has become more difficult with the recent surge affecting operations of both public and private clinics.

“There is conflicting information about COVID-19 and the vaccines, confusing even for the general population,” said Dr Desiree Tulloch-Reid, consultant rheumatologist and president of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica.

She added: “Patients with autoimmune conditions are in a special situation because they have an immune system that is overreactive in some ways, and yet is less effective with coping with infections. In addition, many medications for lupus also suppress the immune response in order to control the disease.

“Persons with lupus will naturally have many questions, and so it is important for lupus patients to be empowered with the knowledge and information they need to make better and more timely choices. However, based on the evidence, we are strongly encouraging all lupus patients to get vaccinated as soon as possible — with any of the vaccines currently available.”

Dr Tulloch-Reid and colleagues are among several specialist physicians and other health professionals who volunteer with the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, monitoring the latest research and contributing to educational materials and programmes disseminated through its various platforms as they keep both health professionals and patients informed during the pandemic.

Patients and the public are invited to view educational programming and information provided on the foundation's YouTube channel, website and social media channels or contact the foundation's learning centre or help line for further information.

The foundation, meanwhile, urged people with lupus to become members of the foundation in order to benefit further from monthly newsletters and support group meetings, WhatsApp group interaction, pharmacy discount programmes, free counselling and other benefits to help them manage their condition.

The Lupus Foundation of Jamaica is a member-based, volunteer-run charity in operation since 1984 and is dedicated to improving the lives and outcomes of persons with lupus through information, support, advocacy and research.

Miss Jamaica World Khalia Hall to join with Government and Medical Societies to support World Lupus Day Observance

Khalia Hall, the reigning Miss Jamaica World, is demonstrating the philosophy of Beauty with a Purpose as she lends her time and influence to the cause of Lupus Awareness.

Miss Jamaica World is one of several well-known personalities that have endorsed the efforts of the Foundation over the years to promote awareness about Lupus.  “I feel grateful to be able to use my platform as Miss Jamaica World to help the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica to raise awareness around this debilitating disease.” 

On May 10, Lupus Foundation of Jamaica will be joining in with lupus groups across the world in observance of  World Lupus Day 2022 under their own theme LUPUS LEVEL UP: Make Lupus Visible.  According to Dr Desiree Tulloch-Reid, President, the campaign will have an Island wide reach through media interviews and promotions, poster displays, a social media campaign and Awareness walks dubbed “Make Strides for Lupus” across the Island and will culminate in a World Lupus Day Ceremony and mini-health fair at Emancipation Park, New Kingston, on May 10, 2022.  “We will be engaging all our members, supporters, media partners, Government, community organisations, the public at large and all our online and social media to increase awareness of lupus, specifically this year emphasising the impact of lupus on the body’s organs.”  

Ms Hall will be supporting the LUPUS LEVEL Up campaign by a video endorsement for social media and being photographed in the purple T-shirt bearing the Campaign theme.  She will also attend the Foundation’s key event, a free mini-health fair at Emancipation Park, and take part in an official Opening Ceremony at 12:00 pm in tandem with the  Minister of State in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Hon Juliette Cuthbert-Flynn who will declare the event open.

Also present at the free event at Emacipation Park will be representatives of several health Professional Associations including Medical Association of Jamaica, Dermatology Association of Jamica, Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica and Jamaica Physiotherapy Association as well as Mandeville Regional Hospital Nephrology Unit, who will interact with the public and provide health talks and demonstrations.  National Health Fund will provide free health screening in tandem with the Diabetes Association of Jamaica.  A live broadcast on Riddim FM 102 with host Vernon Derby will also feature conversations with health professionals, volunteers and persons living with Lupus, as well as reports from participants in awareness walks and other activities across the Island.

The public is invited to wear purple on Tuesday May 10 in solidarity, to participate in local activities and make donations to the Foundation towards support services for persons with Lupus. Further information is available at the Foundation’s website or by contacting 8767548458.

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