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Notice to Readers: Vaccination Week of the Americas, April 24--30, 2004

During April 24--30, all 42 countries in the Region of the Americas will participate in Vaccination Week of the Americas (VWA). The objective is to vaccinate susceptible populations by improving access among underserved populations, keeping vaccination programs on the political agendas of countries in the Western Hemisphere, and promoting cooperation among countries in the region. By ensuring the vaccination of susceptible persons, health authorities will maintain measles-elimination programs in the region and support implementation of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome--elimination plans.

During VWA, surveillance gaps will be identified through active searches for unreported cases of measles, rubella, and acute flaccid paralysis. The target group to be vaccinated during this week is children aged <5 years who have incomplete vaccination series and adults, including women of childbearing age (WCBA), with no previous contact with the vaccination program. The total population to be vaccinated is estimated at 40 million persons. Countries with vaccination activities scheduled for 2004 will conduct these activities during VWA. Other countries of the region will intensify vaccination efforts among children aged <5 years and WCBA. Additional information is available from the Pan American Health Organization at http://www.paho.org/english/dd/pin/sv_2004.htm.



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