Latin American Celebrities Support Vaccination Week in the Americas

18 Apr 2012
Hispanic Heritage Foundation celebrities

Washington, D.C., 20 April, 2012 (PAHO/WHO) - More than a half-dozen Latin American celebrities will join forces with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) next week to promote the 10th annual Vaccination Week in the Americas and the first-ever World Immunization Week, on April 21—28.

The celebrities, many of whom are participating thanks to the support of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, include singers Carlos Baute and Ricardo Montaner of Venezuela and Juanes of Colombia, comedian Chespirito (Roberto Gómez Bolaños) of Mexico, Cuban-American actor/dancer William Lev, Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho, Spanish dancer Joaquín Cortés and Chilean television star Don Francisco (Mario Kreutzberger).

Don Francisco, Ricardo Montaner and Ronaldinho are PAHO/WHO Champions of Health of the Americas.

The celebrities have recorded a series of public service announcements (PSAs) inviting individuals and families to get vaccinated and thanking health workers for their efforts in organizing and carrying out Vaccination Week in the Americas. The PSAs use the campaign slogan "Vaccination is an act of love" and emphasize the importance of protecting children, adults and entire communities from vaccine-preventable diseases.

William Levy and Carlos Baute, in their PSAs, urge parents to take their children to get vaccinated, saying, "The best gift we can give our children is to keep their vaccines up to date." The messages remind viewers that the vaccines are provided free of charge.

Singer Juanes and dancer Joaquín Cortés note that health workers are "working day and night to take the gift of vaccines to every corner of our countries, so no family will remain unvaccinated."

Comedian Chespirito urges parents to "give your children a healthy future; vaccinate them today."

Don Francisco invites viewers to "celebrate the 10th anniversary of Vaccination Week in the Americas" and urges parents to take their children to the nearest health center to get them up-to-date on their vaccines.

"Knowing that my whole family and I are protected by vaccines fills me with peace and joy, and it's what I wish we would all do," says Ricardo Montaner. "Everyone, go to your nearest health center. That way we will have much healthier communities."

Brazilian soccer start Ronaldinho recorded a similar message in Creole for broadcast in Haiti.

Other celebrities supporting this year's initiative include Mexican actors Eugenio Derbez, Dulce María and Maite Perroni and Mexican soccer celebrities Hugo Sánchez and Félix Fernández, as well as Cuban singer Rey Ruiz.

Some 45 countries and territories of the Americas are set to participate in the 10th Vaccination Week in the Americas. The initiative's goal is to vaccinate 44 million people against diseases including polio, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome, measles, mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough, neonatal tetanus, influenza and yellow fever.

PAHO thanks the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for facilitating the participation of William Levy, Juanes, Maite Perroni, Rey Ruiz, Joaquín Cortéz, Hugo Sánchez, Félix Fernandez, Eugenio Derbez, Dulce María, Chespirito and Carlos Baute in this year's campaign. Since its establishment in 1987, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation has identified, inspired, prepared and positioned Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America's priorities.

PAHO was established in 1902 and works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Public Services Announcements (in Spanish)