(PAHO/WHO)- With the goal of accelerating vaccination against COVID-19 and closing coverage gaps against other vaccine-preventable diseases, countries and territories in the Americas plan to immunize some 140 million people as part of Vaccination Week in the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) initiative that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
The theme of the Week, which runs from April 23-30, is “Are you protected? Get all your vaccines,” and calls on the entire population to review their vaccination schedules and get vaccinated to be fully protected.
“This Vaccination Week is an opportunity to improve vaccination rates against polio, measles, rubella, diphtheria and other preventable diseases that have fallen in the last ten years,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “Vaccines work and in the last 20 years have prevented millions from getting sick, hospitalized and even dying. This is why it is vital that everyone has access,” she said.
In two years of the pandemic, the focus on controlling COVID-19 has left health systems and heath care professionals overwhelmed and has set back almost three decades of progress in the fight against polio and measles in the region. In 2020, more than 2.7 million children in the Americas were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated, making them susceptible to diseases such as measles, polio and diphtheria, the first two of which were eliminated from the region.
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