Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) was launched this year by Haiti’s Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) with support from PAHO, in the city of Les Cayes, marking the beginning of a catch-up vaccination campaign in the South Department. This initiative aims to improve immunization coverage in the country, with a particular focus on under-immunized children and zero-dose children.
The launch of the VWA 2023 brought together many health actors, including the Minister of Public Health and Population, the Director of the National Vaccination Program, the Departmental Health Director of the South, and many technical and financial partners as well as representatives of civil society, elected officials and religious leaders.
“The country has made immense sacrifices to achieve the elimination of polio, measles, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, and also the elimination of neonatal tetanus. Today, these gains are seriously threatened. Vaccination week in the Americas is an opportunity to catch up” said Dr. Alex Larsen, Minister of Public Health and Population.
The VWA is therefore an opportunity for health authorities in Haiti and the Americas region to strengthen routine immunization programs and accelerate vaccination against COVID-19. PAHO member states have a common goal this year to reach more than 92 million people with more than 144 million doses of different vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines.
“Together, we can ensure that every person in Haiti has access to safe and effective vaccines. Let us continue to work together to protect the health and well-being of our people, in Haiti and throughout the Americas” recalled PAHO/WHO Representative in Haiti, Dr. Maureen Birmingham.
The VWA is an annual event that takes place in more than 40 countries in the Americas region. It aims to improve immunization coverage in the region by raising awareness of the benefits of immunization and encouraging health authorities to strengthen routine immunization programmes.
Over the past 20 years, VWA has reached nearly 1.1 billion people in the Americas region and eliminated six vaccine-preventable diseases, including polio, measles, congenital rubella syndrome, neonatal tetanus, hepatitis B and smallpox.