Message for WPRO 3rd Annual Immunization Week Speaker: Regional Director Dr Shin Young-soo

WHO Manila
22 April 2013

The Western Pacific Region proudly celebrates its third Immunization Week and joins all WHO regions in observing the World Immunization Week 2013.

The goal of the week is to protect more people and their communities from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The achievements of immunization programmes in the countries and areas of the Western Pacific Region have been tremendous.

The Region was certified as polio-free in 2000, and has sustained this status by quickly identifying and controlling any imported polio outbreaks since.

This Immunization Week, the “Polio eradication and end-game strategic plan 2013–2018” will be launched to support the global goal of a polio-free world.

Thirty-three countries and areas in the Region, including China, have eliminated the danger of tetanus during childbirth and early infancy; nearly nine out of 10 children born in the Region receive hepatitis B vaccination; and the Region is progressing quickly towards measles elimination.

Routine and supplementary immunization activities have reduced the number of reported measles cases by more than 99% since the Regional goal was established in 2003.

The number of measles cases is now at an historic low in the Region.

Measles elimination activities provide critical opportunities to promote equity by strengthening routine immunization and health systems and ensuring that the most hard-to-reach groups have access to vaccination.

Investing in prevention requires fewer resources than responding to outbreaks.

Under the regional theme “Finish the job. No more measles, for anyone!”, countries and areas in the Region will be conducting activities to raise awareness in support of immunization.

Planned activities include: national and local launching ceremonies; educational programmes for health workers, parents and child care givers; and awareness campaigns.

Please join us in celebrating this important week. Protect your world, get vaccinated!