Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health and Population is working to implement intensified vaccination activities nationwide in 2012. The country will implement a first round of vaccination using measles-rubella vaccine (RR) and OPV for children aged <=9 years (9 months to 9 years for RR) in April and a second vaccination round using polio (and Td for the elimination of neonatal tetanus) at least one month after finishing the first. Vitamin A supplements and deworming will be integrated. These supplementary immunization activities (SIA) represent a unique opportunity to strengthen Haiti’s regular immunization program, while achieving a rapid increase in vaccination coverage against polio, measles and rubella.
This SIA will ensure that the country remains free of these diseases and that it can complete the process of documentation and verification of the elimination of measles and rubella in the context of the Regional Initiative towards this goal. The first round of vaccination in Haiti will include active community case-searches for polio, measles and rubella. Retrospective facility-based case searches for the same conditions, in addition to congenital rubella syndrome, will be conducted around the same time-period.
Achieving the two goals of the intensified vaccination activities – 1) strengthening the regular program and 2) maintaining the country free of polio, measles and rubella – is essential for Haiti’s immunization program. After the intensification, there will be an independent survey to verify the results. The success of this vaccination is also a condition for the Region of the Americas to move forward with the process of the regional documentation of the elimination of measles/rubella.
PAHO’s Director, Dr. Mirta Roses, will accompany the April SIA and plans to launch the 10th Vaccination Week in the Americas (and 1st World Vaccination Week) in Port-au-Prince on 21 April 2012.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, February 2012