|Grand Celebration of Health in the Americas|
Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) 2010, a week of the grand celebration of health in the Hemisphere in which every single country and territory in the Americas and tens of thousands of health workers and volunteers join forces to benefit 42 million children and adults.
[ Director's article published by several communications media of the Americas' Region on the ocassion of the celebrating the 2010 Vaccination Week (VWA) in the Ameicas [Argentina, Bolivia, Caribbean Net News, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela]
This is the week of the grand celebration of health in the Hemisphere, Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), in which every single country and territory in the Americas and tens of thousands of health workers and volunteers join forces to benefit 42 million children and adults.
The sheer size of VWA makes it important, since it is the biggest multinational public health effort. However, it is even more important because of the principles that it embodies. Getting vaccinated is not only an act of personal protection but one of solidarity with our fellow man that transcends socioeconomic status, gender, race, and creed. Getting vaccinated protects not only our own health but also that of our loved ones, friends, and even strangers.
Vaccination is also one of the areas that has been most successful in overcoming barriers in access to public health benefits. The theme of this VIII Vaccination Week in the Americas, “Reaching Everyone,” gives priority to groups with limited access to this benefit, such as residents of urban fringe areas, indigenous communities, and people living in rural or border areas, in addition to municipios with vaccination rates below 80%.
This year we are holding several VWA launch events, starting with Nicaragua, followed by activities on the Mexico-United States border (in conjunction with National Infant Immunization Week in the United States) and on the Dominican Republic-Haiti border. This year also witnessed the first bicontinental launch of the initiative, uniting the Americas and Europe with an event in the border zone between Suriname and French Guiana.
This demonstrates that VWA has consolidated the global leadership of the Americas in reducing vaccine-preventable diseases.
Thanks to its success with vaccination programs, which we must maintain and consolidate with everyone’s participation, our Region was the first in the world to eradicate smallpox (in 1971) and eliminate polio (in 1994). We have also eliminated measles, reported the last case of endemic rubella in 2009, and substantially reduced diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough.
VWA is adding to this productive hemispheric legacy, and we are proud that it has served as an inspiration to other regions, which have gradually launched their own versions--Europe for the past five years and now the Eastern Mediterranean. Thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment of the Americas, we are steadily moving toward meeting the goal of a Global Vaccination Week.
This grand celebration of health has been made possible by the efforts of every government and the support of our numerous cooperation partners, local authorities, civil society organizations, thousands of volunteers and health workers, and the media. It is an example of the enormous social network for well-being mobilized by public health.
For a safer, healthier, and more unified world, join our celebration of the VIII Vaccination Week in the Americas and reap its benefits.
For more information, contact Office of the Director, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization