Vaccination is everyone’s job. Protect your community
30 April 2015 - World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine preventable diseases. This year Pacific countries and territories focused on sustaining their remarkable achievements in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases by renewing our commitment to immunization with the theme "Vaccination is everyone’s job. Protect your community"
Pacific Island countries have made significant progress in the control of vaccine-preventable diseases:
- Maternal and neonatal tetanus has been eliminated in all PICs.
- All PICs have maintained polio-free status since 2000, despite threats of its importation. Now, PICS are implementing polio endgame strategies to support the goal of a polio-free world. Nine of the ten countries and areas which use exclusively oral polio vaccine (OPV) have plans in place to introduce at least one dose of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) by the end of 2015 which is a key element of the global polio endgame strategy. The other eleven countries and areas already include at least one dose of IPV in their national immunization schedule.
- Measles incidence has reduced significantly in the Pacific. However, outbreaks in 2014 and 2015 highlight the need for continued committment to ongoing immunization and to improve the sensitivity of surveillance.
- Three PICs have been verified as having reached the regional goal of less than 1% hepatitis B chronic infection prevalence among children and an additional five PICs have gathered the necessary data for verification.
Though significant progress has been made challenges remain due to variety of issues including non-availability or non-functional cold chain equipments in some health centres, high travel costs for outreach activities to reach the unreached, inadequate monitoring and supportive supervision of the immunization staffs from the national and provincial supervisors.
Three key ways to close the gap
- Integrate immunization with other health services.
- Strengthen health systems so they can continue vaccination programmes through crises
- Ensure vaccines are both accessible and affordable to all.