Vaccination Week kicked off in Americas

More than 2,000 children, adolescents, and adults took part in the regional launch of the 13th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas in Durán, Ecuador.

The special event was Vaccination Week in the Americas, which ends Saturday, has since 2003 reached more than 519 million people throughout the Americas. This year’s campaign is targeting more than 60 million girls and boys and men and women in 45 countries and territories with vaccines against measles, rubella, polio, pneumonia and other diseases.

To kick off the week’s activities, a nurse from Durán administered the first dose of polio vaccine to a local baby, and a mother spoke of the benefits of vaccination for families, emphasizing the importance of getting children vaccinated so they can grow up healthy and strong.

Vaccination is a central component of universal access to health and universal health coverage, to the extent it is accessible to all those who need it. “If we join forces, we can ensure that everyone in the world can benefit fully from immunization, no matter where they’re born, who they are, or where they live,” said Cariisa F. Etienne. She is director of the Pan American Health Organization.

During this year’s Vaccination Week, Ecuador is carrying out a special campaign against polio in which children under 6 will receive, free of charge, a dose of trivalent oral polio vaccine, with the goal of maintaining Ecuador free of wild polio virus circulation, in preparation for the final phase of polio eradication worldwide.

In Nicaragua, the agency’s assistant director, Francisco Becerra, presented an immunization award to the local healthcare system of Matagalpa for its success in ensuring high vaccination rates through integrated immunization and follow-up efforts.

Becerra said that, thanks to mass immunization initiatives such as those implemented in Nicaragua, the region of the Americas was the first in the world to eradicate smallpox and to eliminate polio. Nicaragua expects to administer some 1.7 million vaccines this week.

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