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Press Release

Key resource regarding new and future vaccines opportunities

New PAHO Book on Advances in Immunization is Launched at a Critical Moment for Countries in the Americas

Washington, D.C., November 30, 2006 (PAHO)—The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has just announced the launching of "Recent Advances in Immunization", the latest book published by the Organization.

According to the book's editors, Recent Advances in Immunization is mainly intended to assist national immunization managers and their staff with their program of work, but they "expect many other health professionals and other groups to benefit, including students of schools of public health, medicine, and nursing; epidemiologists and disease control specialists; experts on surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases; vaccinologists and infectologists."

The publication of Recent Advances in Immunization has been made possible thanks to the editorial leadership of Dr. Jon Kim Andrus, Lead Technical Advisor at PAHO's Immunization Unit. Prior the development, Andrus surveyed immunization directors in key countries to determine what topics and issues they thought would be most useful to be addressed by the book.

Many authors and contributors whose work have made the launching of this second edition of Recent Advances in Immunization a reality (the first edition was published in 1983), expressed how pleased they were with this new book. Dr. Orin Levine, Director of the Pneumococcal Vaccine Development and Introduction Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said that it comes at a critical time in the evolution of national immunization programs.

In the introduction of the book, the co-editors, Dr. Andrus and Dr. Ciro A. de Quadros, Director of International Programs at the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute, wrote, "Thanks to the work of immunization programs throughout the Region's countries, the peoples of the Americas now live free of indigenous polio and measles; neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis have been well controlled; and new vaccines have been added to national immunization programs and their application has been sustained."

In the same introduction Andrus and de Quadros said that while "progress has been extraordinary in the Americas" regarding vaccines and immunization, progress "has been uneven."

"Some countries still have significant proportions of their populations living in districts where coverage remains below 95%. Reaching children and families who live in low-coverage areas will be essential for sustaining the success of measles elimination and for achieving the targets to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome."

Andrus and de Quadros said that to achieve these and other essential goals, some countries will need to seriously consider the introduction of new or underutilized life-saving vaccines. "Vaccines targeting diseases caused by pneumococcus, rotavirus, human papilloma virus, and influenza may greatly help in reaching the Millennium Developing Goals and the targets outlined in World Health Organization's Global Immunization Vision and Strategy."

Andrus and de Quadros also said that reaching these targets also will require that immunization programs evolve from targeting just children to including the whole family, because this "will enable countries to attain higher vaccination coverage of adolescents and adults for influenza and human papilloma virus, as well as for human immunodeficiency virus and other diseases when future vaccines against them become available."

The co-editors said that the publication of Recent Advances in Immunization could not come at a better moment, since "evidence-based, informed decisions will be critical if the success of immunization programs is to be sustained."

The Director of PAHO, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, said that this book offers national immunization programs "continued technical support for challenges that countries will confront in the years to come."

"I especially want to thank the editors, Drs. Jon Andrus y Ciro de Quadros, for all their initiative, hard work, and commitment in putting this updated PAHO publication together."

Launched today in English, Recent Advances in Immunization also will be published in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. For more information on how to obtain the new book, please visit PAHO Publications site.

Press conference

The Pan American Health Organization invites members of the media to attend a press conference on Monday, December 4th at 9:30 at the Zenger Room of the National Press Club, for the presentation of the new book by PAHO.

Participants to the press conference will include Drs. Andrus, de Quadros and Levine, who will be available for questions by reporters and editors. For more information on this media event, please contact at (202) 974 3036.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was established in 1902 and is the world's oldest public health organization. It serves as the regional office of the World Health Organization, and works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples.

For more information please contact , PAHO, Public Information, tel.: (202) 974-3459, cell: 202 316 5679.