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PAHO urging people to get vaccinated

Friday, April 19, 2019

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WASHINGTON, (CMC) — The Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) is urging people in the Caribbean to get vaccinated to protect against preventable diseases.

PAHO said that during Vaccination Week that will be observed from April 20-27, it wants to achieve a goal of getting an estimated 70 million people vaccinated in the Americas, including the Caribbean.

The initiative, which PAHO has been promoting since 2003, aims to raise awareness of the benefits of vaccines and protect people.

“Protect your community. Do your part” is this year's theme, with a special focus on ending measles outbreaks and protecting the region's achievements.

PAHO said that at least 22 countries in the region plan to vaccinate more than 2.25 million children and adults against this disease.

“It is the duty of each one of us to do our part in promoting vaccination whatever our role: from health workers to authorities, but also as parents, grandparents, teachers, mayors, and community leaders,” said the Dominican-born Dr Carissa F Etienne, PAHO's director.

During this Vaccination Week, PAHO said 45 countries and territories, including several in the Caribbean, will actively participate in reaching almost 70 million people with vaccines against measles, polio, influenza and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), among others.

It said a variety of strategies will be employed, including fixed and mobile vaccination posts, vaccination brigades going house-to-house, communication efforts encouraging parents to bring their children to the nearest health centres, and the administration of school-based vaccination to reach older children and adolescents for booster doses.

“We all benefit from the protection offered by vaccines. However, we must ensure that all populations are vaccinated, as is their right. For that, we must make special efforts to reach people who live in remote areas, more deprived neighbourhoods, indigenous communities, migrant populations, and people who do not have regular access to health systems, leaving no one behind,” Dr Etienne said.

PAHO said that over the last 17 years, more than 740 million people of all ages have been vaccinated against a wide range of diseases during Vaccination Week.

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