PAHO launches Vaccination Week in the Americas 2024

vwa24 launch event

Washington D.C. 22 April 2024 (PAHO) – The 22nd edition of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) 2024 was launched this week under the slogan “Engage now to protect your future #GetVax.” The launch ceremony was led by Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, as well as other high-level health authorities and regional partners, who have been key to the success of immunization programs in the Americas.

“As our Organization's flagship initiative, Vaccination Week has been instrumental in providing vaccines to more than 1.15 billion people throughout the Region,” Dr. Barbosa said.

director durante lanzamiento

During the launch, Executive Manager of PAHO's Special Program for Comprehensive Immunization, Dr. Daniel Salas, presented an update on vaccination coverage, which has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. That is why “our efforts must be directed towards recovering the performance of our regional immunization program and maximizing its effectiveness and efficiency,” added Dr. Barbosa.

During the launch, a panel of experts including the Hon. Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness of Belize; Dr. Ximena Aguilera, Minister of Health of Chile; and Dr. Jesús Osteicochea, Vice Minister of Collective Health Networks of the Ministry of Popular Power of Health of Venezuela, presented experiences, achievements and lessons learned from their countries. The experts also reiterated their commitment to the future of the immunization program in the Americas.

dr salas

Video messages were delivered by Ambassador John Nkengasong, Director of the Bureau of Health Security and Diplomacy of the U.S. Department of State; Dr. Mary Munive, Vice President and Minister of Health of Costa Rica; Dr. Nisia Trinidade, Minister of Health of Brazil; Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC); and Dr. Eladio Perez, Vice Minister of Collective Health of the Dominican Republic.

During the event, participants discussed some of the challenges and needs facing the region, including political commitment to prioritize investment and resources for essential health services; adapting the offer of vaccination programs, and designing communication strategies that facilitate access to evidence-based information. “It is important to counteract false information regarding vaccines, and to strengthen the capacities of health professionals so they can accurately communicate about the importance and safety of vaccines to the population,” Dr. Barbosa said.


This year, Vaccination Week in the Americas is celebrated from April 20-27 and seeks to promote vaccines as a fundamental part of a healthy and active life. VWA is also a regional initiative that aims to promote equity and access to vaccination in all countries of the Americas.

Quotes from the high-level speakers:

John Nkengasong, Director of the Bureau of Health Security and Diplomacy, US State Department

The United States is a proud partner of PAHO and its Members States. Each year we invest around $59 million in PAHO to promote Disease Control, elimination and eradication. Political will and steadfast leadership from PAHO will help us to increase immunization rates and continue saving lives.

Mary Munive, Vice President and Minister of Health of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country that has maintained high vaccination rates over many years, thanks to collaboration between the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the population itself, which recognizes the importance of vaccination.

Nisia Trinidade, Minister of Health of Brazil

In Brazil, last year we launched the National Movement for Vaccination to regain trust in vaccines, promote the culture of vaccination, and protect our society. As a result, we have seen an increase in coverage in 13 of the 16 major vaccines on the National Immunization Program schedule.

Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada

It is important that the positive impacts of vaccination are accessible to everyone in our communities. In Canada, this includes working to reach those who have limited access to healthcare services, including people who live in rural and remote communities. Addressing the spread of misinformation and disinformation is also key.

Eladio Pérez, Vice Minister of Collective Health of the Dominican Republic

It is important to continue investing in the health of our population, with more effective and modern vaccines. Thanks to PAHO’s joint purchasing mechanisms, the Revolving Fund and Strategic Fund, we can also obtain access to other technologies and bring more health to our populations.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness of Belize

Increasing the vaccination coverage rate in children under one year of age in Belize was possible thanks to the dedicated public health nursing team committed to vaccinating the unvaccinated. We try to ensure that vaccinations are a public goal. We also included more clinics in remote locations, where people can go for vaccinations on a walk-in basis.

Ximena Aguilera Sanhueza, Minister of Health of Chile

Chile has been successful in understanding that vaccination is a public good, that protects peoples’ health, and is a right that we are granting. The strength that we have tried to maintain is communication with people, as well as reducing access barriers through vaccination outside of clinical settings.

Jesús Osteicochea Suarce, Vice minister of the Collective Health Networks, of the Ministry for Popular Power of Health of Venezuela

In 2023, Venezuela was reverified as a measles-free country. This is due to a high level of active epidemiological surveillance in all territories. We also have an internationally certified laboratory that meets all the requirements for immediate testing of suspected cases of measles, which has allowed us to respond quickly and prevent the spread of the disease.