The Pan American Health Organization joins with the Region of the Americas to celebrate the 18th anniversary of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), from April 25th to May 2nd under the slogan “Love. Trust. Protect. #GetVax.” The 9th World Immunization Week (WIW) will be celebrated April 24-30.
The celebration of this year’s Vaccination Week in the Americas is being convened in an unusual and very difficult epidemiological context. While we have a challenging task ahead of us to deal with COVID-19, we must take a moment to recognize that many other dangerous diseases can be prevented through immunization.
Some of the diseases that vaccines prevent are seasonal Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, BCG and Cervical Cancer. Hence, immunization is considered an essential service that must be ensured during the pandemic.
PAHO recommends that countries pay special attention to vaccination against influenza to protect vulnerable populations including older adults, people living in nursing homes or asylums, people with non-communicable diseases, and health care workers. We cannot afford to lose the success gained through strong vaccination programs and the contribution it has made to healthy and productive nations.
Vaccines not only keep populations healthier but also reduce the burden on the health systems, thus allowing them to focus on other areas including the response to COVID-19 which is presently affecting countries.
This year’s vaccination campaign brings to mind the love people have for their children, themselves, and their communities and the trust in vaccines’ ability to save lives and the protection they provide for everyone everywhere.
We must also remember to salute the Health Care workers who continue to labour in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. PAHO encouraged countries earlier this year to focus and recognize the work of the Nurse Midwife.
So as Vaccination Week in the Americas is being celebrated we must thank the nurses for their work, more specifically through the attainment of high vaccination coverage. Dominica continues to maintain an over 95 % vaccination coverage for diseases covered by the expanded program in immunization. They also continue to encourage access for booster vaccinations.
I beg of you to maintain your appointments. If you are ill or cannot attend for one reason or another call and adjust your appointment with your health care provider.
Please remember vaccines save lives …. Love… trust …. Protect …. Get VAX!