|Millions of women and older adults will be vaccinated during Vaccination Week in the Americas|
Washington, D.C., 25 April 2012 – Millions of women of childbearing age and adults over 60 throughout the hemisphere will be vaccinated against a broad spectrum of diseases during the 10th Vaccination Week in the Americas and the first-ever World Immunization Week, both from April 21 to April 28.
In the past nine years, more than 365 million people of all ages have been vaccinated in the framework of Vaccination Week in Americas against diseases such as polio, measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome, diphtheria, mumps, neonatal tetanus, and influenza.
Several of these diseases pose special risks for pregnant women and older adults. To protect them, the initiative has provided vaccines to more than 16 million women of childbearing age (protected against tetanus, rubella, measles, diphtheria, and influenza), and more than 121 million, adults over 60 (vaccinated against influenza and other illnesses).
A number of countries are reaching out once more to these special population groups in 2012. For example, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama are providing tetanus and diphtheria vaccine to women of childbearing age to prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus. Venezuela is also vaccinating pregnant women against tetanus.
For older adults, vaccines are available to help prevent pneumonia, tetanus, and flu, diseases that frequently jeopardize their health. Mortality due to influenza is higher among people over 60. Influenza vaccination can help reduce hospitalization by more than 50%, deaths by more than 80%, and the disease itself by more than 40%. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela are this year administering seasonal influenza vaccine. Brazil alone plans to vaccinate more than 23 million people, including older adults, indigenous populations, pregnant women, health workers, and children under 2, against influenza.
This year, Vaccination Week aims to reach 44 million people of all ages in the hemisphere. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has supported the initiative since it was first launched in 2003. Thanks to a worldwide promotional effort, and inspired by Vaccination Week in the Americas, all World Health Organization (WHO) regions this year have joined together to hold the first-ever World Immunization Week.
PAHO was established in 1902 and is the world’s oldest public health organization. It works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. It is also the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.