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FGL.03. Vaccination Week in the Americas

 Categoría para SVA

History of Vaccination Week in the Americas

Background: In 2002, prompted by a measles outbreak in Venezuela and Colombia, the health ministers of countries in the Andean region propose an annual Vaccination Week in the Americas to help prevent such future outbreaks. In the 8 years since VWA was first implemented, over 288 million people have been vaccinated against a wide range of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, rubella, yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and influenza, as a result of the initiative. Multiple VWA social mobilization campaigns throughout the region have also been undertaken and the initiative has received ever increasing political support. 

To access more information on each year's Vaccination Week activities, click on the year.

2003: In September, Vaccination Week in the Americas is accepted as an annual, hemispheric initiative, by the Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization, with the adoption of Resolution CD44.R1. The principles underlying Vaccination Week in the Americas are equity, access, and Pan-Americanism.  Nineteen countries participate in the first VWA, the primary focus of which is measles elimination.  With the implementation of this program, more than 16 million people are vaccinated.

2004:  Twenty-three countries participate in the second annual VWA.  The focus for 2004 consists of follow-up campaigns against measles, elimination of rubella and CRS, and the vaccination of older adults.  Over 43 million people are vaccinated in the second year of the VWA campaign.

2005: The third VWA emphasizes the vaccination of indigenous peoples and older adults, rubella elimination campaigns, the strengthening of regular immunization programs and the introduction of new vaccines.  During this campaign, more than 38 million people are vaccinated in the Region. Drawing inspiration from the activities in the Americas, European Immunization Week (EIW) launches in October 2005 and focuses primarily on social communication activities.

2006:  In its fourth year, VWA activities highlight the transition from child to family immunization programs, the strengthening of regular immunization programs, influenza, rubella elimination and the introduction of new vaccines.  Over 49 million people are vaccinated during the 2006 campaign.

In June 2006, the PAHO Executive Committee confirms the organization's commitment to VWA by recommending that the PAHO Directing Council adopt resolution CE138.R4, which would urge member states to continue to support and expand vaccination efforts, including the yearly celebration of Vaccination Week in the Americas.

2007: Forty-five countries and territories participate in Vaccination Week in the Americas, the highest total thus far in the history of the initiative. More than 47 million individuals are vaccinated as a result of the week's initiatives which work to strengthen border coordination, reach isolated populations, strengthen routine programs and advance the control of yellow fever and hepatitis B, among other goals. 

2008: The sixth annual VWA involves the participation of 45 countries and territories in the Region. Multiple VWA launching events take place along binational and trinational borders throughout the Region with the participation of high-ranking authorities under the framework of a Health Caravan. Diverse vaccination campaigns take place as part of the week, including multiple measles/rubella elimination campaigns, focused primarily in Central America. More than 59 million individuals are vaccinated through such efforts.

2009: The seventh annual VWA emphasizes the importance of family vaccination as well as the vaccination of health workers. Multiple launching events are held throughout the Region, including a series of events in the South American Chaco, the border area shared by Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay and one of the transnational priority areas as identified by the Pan American Alliance for Nutrition and Development.

2010: Set to begin on April 24 until May1, VWA 2010 will focus on reaching everyone, especially vulnerable populations.  Multiple launching events are being planned, including one on the border of Honduras and Nicaragua and another on the Suriname/French Guiana border.  The latter event will be the first ever bi-Regional launching event, linking both VWA and EIW.  EMRO Region of WHO is also planning to pilot its own vaccination week in 2010, simultaneously with VWA and EIW, moving one step closer to the future goal of a Global Vaccination Week.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 11:57

World Health Day 2009

A Message from Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization

"Join Us to Make Hospitals Safe from Disasters"

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis-when disaster strikes, our immediate concern is to save lives, help the injured, and restore the well-being of affected communities. We cannot accomplish this without one essential lifeline: our hospitals. Hospitals should never be allowed to become disaster victims themselves.

Hospitals are home not only to doctors, nurses, hospital beds and medical equipment but also to laboratories, pharmacies, and blood banks-all critical components of the public health system. When a hospital is destroyed or crippled in a disaster, these essential services are lost at the moment they are most needed. While we cannot prevent natural hazards, we can and must make sure that our hospitals stand up to disasters, continuing to meet immediate health needs and providing critical longer-term care.
What do we mean by a safe hospital?

A safe hospital is one whose structure remains intact during and after disasters, whose health workers are trained to respond in an emergency, and whose contingency plans enable it to keep functioning even after a disaster. Making hospitals safe is not just the responsibility of health authorities or engineers; it requires the involvement of many disciplines and the dedication of individuals and institutions at all levels, including governmental and nongovernmental organizations, universities, the private sector, and the public at large. We all have a role to play in making hospitals safe.

On this World Health Day, we are calling on decision-makers from every country of our Region to commit to the creation of national safe hospitals programs and to mobilize the broadest possible support for making hospitals and health facilities safe from disasters.

You can help us spread the 2009 World Health Day message: When disaster strikes, safe hospitals save lives. Join with others to make sure our hospitals are there when we need them most!  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2009 08:23

World Health Day 2009


World Health Day, April 7, marks the anniversary of the 1948 founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). This year's focus is on the need to make hospitals and health facilities safe in disasters and other emergencies. Browse through this web site to learn more about the urgency and feasibility of making hospitals and health facilities safe in disasters, and find suggestions for individual and organizational action. We hope you will use this information to raise awareness and mobilize support for safe hospitals throughout 2009 and beyond.

A World Health Day video message from the Director of PAHO

PAHO Director, Dr. Mirta RosesWhen disaster strikes, our immediate concern is to save lives, help the injured, and restore the well-being of affected communities. We cannot accomplish this without one essential lifeline: our hospitals. Hospitals should never be allowed to become disaster victims themselves... [Watch it!]

World Health Day celebration in Washington, D.C.

  • World Health Day ceremony:
    Click here to view the preliminary agenda.
    Read more about the panelists who will speak about this important issue at the World Health Day event .
  • Safe Hospitals Expo: On April 6 and 7, NGOs, professional associations, government agencies and PAHO technical units will showcase what they are doing with regard to hospitals and emergencies.
    Click here to see who will participate.

Learn more about hospitals safe from disasters
(Publications, photos and multimedia, links to web sites and much more)

  • Click here to browse through PAHO/WHO's  online catalog of publications, awareness information and technical material on hospitals safe from disasters. 
  • Do you know how safe your hospital is?  Learn more about the Hospital Safety Index, a low cost tool that is helping countries determine the likelihood that health facilities will function in emergency situations.
  • Preview a 15-minute video program on what makes hospitals safe from disasters.
    Take a look at a similar program that focuses on the Caribbean.
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  to receive a DVD of either program.
  • Witness the impact of the 2007 earthquake in Peru on health and health facilities. View slideshow.
  • All in one place! A variety of publications from PAHO/WHO and from other agencies and countries on issues related to safe hospitals. Check out the online version.

World Health Day graphic materials

A call to action on safe hospitals

Participate! Disaster-resilient hospitals and health facilities are everyone’s right. They are also everyone’s responsibility. How can you make a difference? Here are some suggestions.

Celebrate! There are many ways to celebrate World Health Day 2009 in hospitals and health centers, universities, professional associations and other organizations, and even in the media. Here are some ideas.


Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2009 03:34

Vaccination Week in the Americas

"La semana de vacunación de las Américas, que surguiera originalmente como una iniciatia subregional, ha germinado y florecido ... está ahora expandiéndose a Europa y seguirá sumando otras regiones hasta que tengamos una Semana Mundial de Vacunación. Todos unidos por la protección de la salud!."

Dra. Mirta Roses Periago
Directora Regional para las Américas
Discurso de Aceptación,


La Semana de Vacunación en las Américas (SVA) es una iniciativa de los países americanos que busca revitalizar el compromiso político sobre la vacunación y promover la cultura de la prevención mediante la vacunación. En el 2008, la SVA celebró su 6o aniversario regional. Los objetivos de las actividades llevadas a cabo en la SVA, las cuales se realizan durante una semana en el mes de abril, son:

  • promover la equidad y el acceso a la inmunización;
  • apoyar la transición de la inmunización del niño pequeño a la inmunización familiar;
  • mantener la inmunización como punto importante en la agenda política;
  • mantener la Región libre de poliomielitis y el sarampión;
  • apoyar la implementación de los planes para la eliminación de la rubéola y el síndrome de rubéola congénita (SRC);
  • apoyar la introducción de vacunas nuevas y subutilizadas;
  • fortalecer la vigilancia epidemiológica; y
  • promover la coordinación transfronteriza.

Desde su inicio, la SVA ha proporcionado vacunación a más de 250 millones de individuos. Muchos de las personas a quienes las actividades de SVA se dirigen son poblaciones vulnerables con limitado acceso a la vacunación como aquellas ubicadas en zonas rurales, peri-urbanas y fronterizas, además de los municipios con baja cobertura y las comunidades indígenas. El apoyo y la participación de los presidentes, primeras damas y ministros de salud de la Región en los eventos de la SVA durante los últimos años, así como la distribución de materiales de comunicación social, también ha sido un punto crítico que ha ayudado a aumentar el conocimiento público acerca de la vacunación.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 September 2011 17:27

Vaccination Week 2009 - Sesame Street

Vaccination Week in the Americas 2009, a family affair 

Sesame Street


Vaccination Week in the Americas 2009 sticker 





Vaccination Week 2009 - Sesame Street Poster in English

Creole (for Haiti)

Vaccination Week 2009 - Sesame Street Poster in Creole



Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 04:52

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

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