Immunization in the Americas, 2008 Summary

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The countries of the Americas, with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), have made remarkable progress in providing children with an umbrella of protection against basic vaccine-preventable diseases. Sustained high national immunization coverage levels, the eradication of polio, the interruption of endemic measles virus transmission, and the more recent efforts towards rubella and congenital rubella syndrome elimination are hemispheric benchmarks of this progress. Countries are now vaccinating age groups outside those usually targeted in the traditional childhood immunization program. Introducing seasonal influenza vaccine in adult populations at risk, vaccinating adolescents and adults, men and women for rubella elimination, and defining the disease burden of cervical cancer are activities that support the critical need for national immunization programs to transition from child to family immunization. In support to countries, one of PAHO's roles is to disseminate information that can highlight progress and challenges faced in the Region. To that end, PAHO regularly publishes a number of technical documents related to immunization. These are the Immunization Newsletter, our series of immunization training modules, and our Field Guide series for rubella, measles, polio, neonatal tetanus, pentavalent vaccine, and yellow fever.