Vaccination Week in the Americas

About Vaccination Week in the Americas

In 2002, prompted by a measles outbreak in Venezuela and Colombia, the health ministers
of countries in the Andean region proposed a coordinated vaccination effort to help
prevent such future outbreaks. Since the first celebration of Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) in 2003, more than 323 million individuals of all ages have been vaccinated against a wide range of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, rubella, yellow fever, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and influenza, through activities conducted under the framework of the initiative. Multiple VWA social mobilization campaigns have also been undertaken throughout the region and the initiative has received ever increasing political support.

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

2011: The ninth annual VWA was celebrated from 23-20 April 2011 across the countries and territories of the Americas under the slogan "Vaccinate your family, protect your community." Regional launching events were organized throughout the Amazon sub-region, and between Peru and Bolivia in the Altiplano. In 2011, the African and Western Pacific WHO Regions celebrated their first ever vaccination week initiatives, joining in this growing global effort!

2010: The eighth VWA was celebrated under the slogan of "reaching everyone". Regional launching events were held in multiple locations, including Nicaragua, the Haiti/Dominican Republic border, and the Suriname/French Guiana border. The latter event was the first ever bi-Regional launching event, linking both VWA and EIW. In 2010, the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) Region of WHO celebrated its first ever Vaccination Week in the Eastern Mediterranean (VWEM) and counted on 100% participation of the countries in that region.

2009: The seventh annual VWA emphasized the importance of family vaccination as well as the vaccination of health workers. Multiple launching events were 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.

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

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

2006:  In its fourth year, VWA activities highlighted 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 were vaccinated during the 2006 campaign.

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

2005: The third VWA emphasized 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 were vaccinated in the Region. Drawing inspiration from the activities in the Americas, European Immunization Week (EIW) was launched in October 2005 and focused primarily on social communication activities.

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

2003: In September, Vaccination Week in the Americas was 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 participated in the first VWA, the primary focus of which was measles elimination.  With the implementation of this program, more than 16 million people were vaccinated.