Vaccination Week Is Time For Health Professionals To Fight False Information, Says PAHO Boss.

Photo: PAHO. Vaccination week gets underway in St. Lucia.
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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” and vaccination activities are going on all over the Caribbean.

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.

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.

Video messages were delivered by a number of high ranking health officials in the region.

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.

Source: PAHO.
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