WHO Western Pacific Region celebrates Immunization Week 2012

The World Health Organization (WHO) will launch World Immunization Week on 23 April in an effort to dramatically reduce the toll of death and illness from avoidable diseases.

In WHO's Western Pacific Region, two to three million people per year contract diseases that could be prevented by immunization. These diseases cause severe illness and, in some cases, death.

For the second consecutive year, Member States in the Region will set aside an entire week to promote greater awareness of the importance of immunization. This year will be particularly important, as all six WHO regional offices have combined efforts for the first time to celebrate World Immunization Week.

WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo will officially launch Immunization Week 2012 at 11:30. a.m. (Manila time) during the 102nd Consultation of WHO Representatives and Country Liaison Officers in the WHO Regional Office in Manila, Philippines.

"Member States in the Western Pacific Region have done an excellent job in eliminating polio, controlling hepatitis B transmission, and reducing the number of reported cases of measles, preventing about 75 000 deaths per year. However, immunizing children is a never ending job," Dr Shin says. "Every day, thousands of babies are born in the 37 countries and areas in our Region, and we must create and maintain awareness to ensure a healthy childhood for these babies."

The launch will be accompanied by ceremonies at the national and district levels in Member States. These ceremonies will include the introduction of a rotavirus vaccine in the Philippines; the introduction of the second dose of measles vaccine in Cambodia; and the first public–private influenza campaign in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Gabriel Anaya
Programme Management Officer, Expanded Programme in Immunization
Tel.: +63 2 528 9740
E-mail: anayag@wpro.who.int

Ms Marilu Lingad
Public Information Office
Tel: +63 2 528 9993
Mobile: +63 (0)908 891 4532
E-mail: lingadm@wpro.who.int