JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is scheduled to visit Jamaica from April 22 – 26, for activities to mark Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA).
  • PAHO/World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Noreen Jack, told JIS News that Dr. Etienne’s visit is significant for Jamaica.
  • The 14th VWA will be celebrated from April 23 to April 30.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is scheduled to visit Jamaica from April 22 – 26, for activities to mark Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA).

Dr. Etienne will deliver the keynote address at the regional launch of the week on April 23 at Emancipation Park, New Kingston.

The launch, which is taking place in the Caribbean for the first time, is being hosted in Jamaica by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with PAHO.

VWA is commemorated annually during the last week of April and is used to promote the benefits of vaccination.

In an interview with JIS News, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Winston De La Haye, said that Jamaica is excited to be hosting the 14th VWA.

“This annual public health campaign by the member states of PAHO promotes equity and access to immunisation, strengthening of immunisation programmes in the region of the Americas and reaching those at heightened risk of contracting over 20 different vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said.

“That over 365 million individuals have been vaccinated since VWA’s launch in 2003, speaks to the success of this initiative,” the CMO added.

PAHO/World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Noreen Jack, told JIS News that Dr. Etienne’s visit is significant for Jamaica.

She noted that this year’s theme for VWA: ‘Go for the Gold! Get vaccinated!’ is based on the upcoming Olympics in Brazil.

“With Jamaica being home to the fastest man in the world, Olympic and World Champion record holder Usain Bolt, it is fitting and prudent for the Director of PAHO to come to Jamaica for this launch,” she pointed out.

Dr. Jack informed that World Immunisation Week will also be observed during the week.

A native of Dominica, Dr. Etienne was elected Director of PAHO by member states on September 19, 2012 and began her five-year term on February 1, 2013.

This will be Dr. Etienne’s second visit to Jamaica as PAHO Director.  She first visited in 2013 for the regional launch of World Blood Donor Day during her first year of assuming office as Director.

“In a sense, Dr. Etienne will be coming home as she did her medical studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, and we look forward to welcoming her again,” Dr. Jack said.

The 14th VWA will be celebrated from April 23 to April 30.