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Through their commitment to immunization, the countries of the Americas have emerged as world leaders in reducing and eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases and introducing new vaccines, according to immunization experts attending a regional advisory group meeting July 6-8, 2011, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Christopher J. Elias, PATH president and CEO, attended the meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. He participated on behalf of the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration steering committee, which he co-chairs.

The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration is developing a global vaccine action plan to increase coordination across the international vaccine community and build on the successes of ongoing work in the discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving vaccines.

Maintaining immunization coverage and surveillance is key

Dr. Elias briefed meeting attendees on the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration and the global vaccine action plan. He also consulted with more than two dozen immunization program managers from the PAHO region.

Pioneering work throughout Latin America and the Caribbean has reduced child mortality and led to the elimination or reduction of vaccine-preventable diseases such as smallpox, polio, measles, and rubella, according to PAHO and advisory group leaders. Yet they emphasized that achievements in immunization coverage and surveillance must be sustained to avoid the reintroduction of disease.

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Posted July 11, 2011.