Next week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will celebrate both the Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) and the World Immunization Week (WIW), events that aim to raise awareness on the importance of vaccinating people of all ages against preventable diseases.
“Vaccines are under the spotlight as never before. Two years into the pandemic and a year after COVID-19 vaccines became available, around 64 percent of people in the Americas have been vaccinated against this devastating virus. Regrettably, however, many still remain unvaccinated. My message to you is that vaccines continue to be our best protection,” said Carissa Etienne, Director, PAHO.
In Mexico, 61.3 people per 100 inhabitants already have their complete COVID-19 vaccination scheme and 85.68 million have already received the first dose, according to the WHO. The vaccine most used in the country is Pfizer BioNTech, which was also recently approved by COFEPRIS for children between five to 11 years old.
SARS-CoV-2 is not the only disease from which the population must be protected. “As we continue to expand COVID-19 vaccine coverage, let us not forget the other diseases, for which effective protection exists. Vaccine coverage against polio, measles, diphtheria and other childhood diseases has dropped in many countries in the region as the pandemic response overwhelmed health systems,” added Etienne.
Mexico’s Universal Vaccination Program (PVU), a public health policy that aims to avert preventable diseases through vaccination, aims to vaccinate 95 percent of children in each state. Globally, 23 million children under the age of one year did not receive the basic vaccination scheme, reported WHO. Of those, 60 percent lived in 10 countries including Mexico.
Among other strategies, the PVU aims to reduce the incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in women through the vaccination of girls over 11 years old. In many countries, the vaccine has not been introduced yet which led to a decrease in coverage during 2020.
Due to the lack of access and vaccination inequalities, PAHO will focus on inviting State Members to build better national immunization programs to promote equitable access. The Immunization Agenda 2030 provides strategies to ensure a safer and healthier world through vaccination. Its goals are to reduce mortality and morbidity, leave no one behind and ensure good health and wellbeing for everyone.