UN health organization set to vaccinate 40 million in the Americas in Vaccination Week
From Barrow in Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, some 40 million people are to be inoculated against such common illnesses as measles during the first United Nations-coordinated Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA), starting on Saturday.
The campaign, coinciding with the 10-year-old National Infant Immunization Week in the United States, is being coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), now the regional arm of the UN's World Health Organization (WHO).
It will focus on often-neglected children living in rural border regions and the most vulnerable among other groups, including pregnant women and the elderly in the 42 countries in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
The US and Mexican governments and three states - Texas and New Mexico in the United States and Chihuahua in Mexico - will collaborate closely during the campaign. Sister cities along the border are planning joint activities, including San Diego, California, with Tijuana, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
PAHO director Dr. Mirta Roses is scheduled to go to Haiti to kick off the VWA. Vaccine Week "demonstrates our strong commitment to work together to improve the health of the people of the Americas, especially the children," she said.
Most of the countries will vaccinate against measles, polio, rubella, also known as German measles, and congenital rubella syndrome, while other countries will tackle influenza and neonatal tetanus.