About 180 countries and territories celebrate Immunization Week
21 April 2011 - This year, for the first time, Immunization Week brings together about 180 countries and territories across five WHO regions ― Africa, Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe and the Western Pacific. Starting 23 April, various events and activities will take place to boost awareness of immunization and improve community demand for vaccines and delivery of services. Four out of the five regions have developed themes around this year's event:
- African Vaccination Week ― Put mothers and children first; vaccinate and stop polio now
- Vaccination Week in the Americas ― Vaccinate your family, protect your community
- Vaccination Week in the Eastern Mediterranean ― Partnership for immunization
- European Immunization Week ― Shared solutions to common threats
Countries will implement a wide range of activities including dissemination of information; training sessions and workshops for health workers; exhibitions; round table discussions with political decision makers, medical professionals, parents, and caregivers; and vaccination campaigns to protect vulnerable populations against diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, maternal and neonatal tetanus, polio, rubella, whooping cough and yellow fever.
"Yet, with all the positive cooperation, innovation and collaboration that exist, we are at risk of losing many of the gains that have been made and forgoing the additional benefits that are within reach. For example, the recent outbreaks of measles, pertussis and polio in different parts of the world have made us all the more aware of the work that remains to be done," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "I believe Immunization Week will have a significant impact on emphasizing the need to remain vigilant against vaccine-preventable diseases – even those that we do not see within our communities."