Vaccination week of the Americas
© UNICEF DR/ A. de la Rosa/ 2010
More than 3 million people to be vaccinated
Jimaní, Dominican Republic.- At a ceremony led by the Vice President of the Dominican Republic, the Minister of Health, provincial officials and representatives of the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund and other cooperation agencies, the Vaccination Week of the Americas was launched in this city, on the border with Haiti.
In his speech, Vice President Dr. Rafael Alburquerque thanked Unicef and PAHO/WHO for their cooperation, especially in having chosen Jimaní as the site for launching the Vaccination Week of the Americas, and for recognizing the city as Capital of Dominican-Haitian Solidarity.
PAHO Regional Representative Dr Mirta Roses and Unicef Regional Health Advisor Dr. Enrique Paz were declared Distinguished Visitors by the City Council. They each received a diploma with Resolution 3-20 issued by the Council Chamber.
Interim Representative Ennio Cufino declared that Unicef is committed to supporting the country in this campaign, in the framework of the Zero Tolerance initiative for the incidence of diseases preventable through vaccines, and especially as “we support this bi-national initiative, because when it comes to health there are no frontiers”.
Unicef’s office in the Dominican Republic has taken part in the Vaccination Week of the Americas since 2004, as a way of achieving over 90% vaccination coverage and contributing to the fulfilment of Millennium Development Goal 4, which seeks to reduce the mortality rate among under-5s by two thirds by 2015.
In the spirit of the Vaccination Week slogan, Reaching Everyone, the Dominican Republic has set itself the goal of vaccinating 3,162,662 people across several age groups all over the county, with the aim of reaching sectors of the population that lack adequate access to the vaccinations administered by the routine vaccination programme.
The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Bautista Rojas, explained that the country’s participation in this campaign is aimed at maintaining goals that have already been achieved:
To maintain the elimination of wild poliovirus transmission, to maintain the elimination of measles, rubella and congenital rubella syndrome, and to accelerate mumps control. It also seeks to reduce the A H1N1 influenza transmission risk.
He explained that the vaccination programme would be implemented in three stages: From Monday 26th April to 1st May for schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 8, from 21st May for pre-schoolers and from 11-19 June against A H1N1 influenza for risk groups all over the country.
At the end of the ceremony the vaccinations began with a group of schoolchildren who took part in the event representing the 6-8 age group, which will receive a series of vaccinations.