Vaccination Week in the Americas

"Vaccination Week in the Americas, originally conceived as a subregional initiative, has expanded and flowered ... it is now being extended to Europe, and other Regions will continue to be added until we have a World Vaccination Week. The world united for health protection!"
Dr. Mirta Roses Periago
Regional Director for the Americas


Lessons Learned
2008 Results
2008 Communication Materials
European Immunization Week

Country Resources

PAHO Revolving Fund
Vaccine Information

Contact Us

525 23rd St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: 202.974.3510
Fax: 202.974.3635
E-mail: FCH-IM

VWA 2008 foto

VWA 2008 foto

VWA 2008 foto

VWA 2007 foto

What is Vaccination Week in the Americas?

Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) is an initiative of the countries of the Region of the Americas which seeks to revitalize political commitment to vaccination and promote a culture of prevention. In 2008, VWA celebrated its 6th anniversary in the Region. The objectives of VWA activities, which take place annually in April, are to:

  • promote equity and access to immunization;
  • support the transition from child to family immunization;
  • maintain immunization on the political agenda;
  • keep the Region free of polio and indigenous measles;
  • support the implementation of plans to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS);
  • support the introduction of new or underutilized vaccines;
  • strengthen epidemiological surveillance; and
  • promote cross-border coordination.

Since its inception, VWA has provided more than 250 million individuals with life-saving immunizations. Many of those individuals targeted for VWA activities are vulnerable populations with limited access to vaccination such as those located in remote areas, urban fringe areas, along borders, in low coverage municipalities, and in indigenous communities. The support and participation of presidents, first ladies and health ministers in VWA events over the last half-decade, as well as the distribution of VWA social communication materials, have also helped to raise public awareness of vaccination in the Region.

Why is this important?

  • The countries of the Americas, with support from the Pan American Health Organization, have made extraordinary progress in recent decades in providing children with an umbrella of protection against basic, vaccine-preventable diseases. In order to sustain these achievements and confront future challenges immunization programs need to be prioritized.
  • Vaccination, already regarded as a "best buy" public health intervention, is now believed to have even more far-reaching economic impact, in better educational outcomes and more years of productive life.
  • In the Americas, immunization has been responsible for almost one-quarter of the reduction in mortality in children under 5 year of age from 1990-2002, significantly contributing to progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Despite substantial progress in recent years, inequities in national health systems still exist, leaving millions of vulnerable people in the Americas without access to regular immunization programs. VWA strives to fill in these service gaps.

Who is involved?

As of 2008, 45 countries and territories in the Region participated in VWA activities. Each year countries designate their own national objectives and target populations for VWA, while central VWA coordination is provided by the Pan American Health Organization in Washington DC, in conjunction with its country offices. During the week, presidents, vice-presidents and health ministers have all been active participants in VWA launching events throughout the Region.

For further information about VWA please contact:

Alba Maria Ropero Alvarez
Regional Advisor (FCH/IM)
Pan American Health Organization
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: +001.202.974.3706
Fax: +001.202.974.3635


Hannah Kurtis
Technical Officer (FCH/IM)
Pan American Health Organization
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone: +001.202.974.3163
Fax: +001.202.974.3635