WHO vaccinates more than 75 million in 22 countries

More than 75 million people from 22 countries in Africa were vaccinated against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases in a first ever campaign of its type supported by the World Health Organization.

The first African Vaccination Week was coordinated and led by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, which is tasked with strengthening immunization programs by drawing attention to the needs and rights of all people to be protected by vaccine-preventable diseases, according to

During the campaign, over 86 million doses of polio vaccine were administered by more than 325,000 health workers.

In addition to polio, the campaign targeted diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, Hib, measles, yellow fever, meningitis, pneumococcal and rotavirus diseases.

"Sure, it was our first outing, but by all accounts it was a huge success,” Dr. Luis Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said, according to

Adolphe Muzito, the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, launched the campaign from Kinshasa on April 28.

"Vaccination provides protection,” Muzito said, according to “The vaccines are available. We should go for vaccination without hesitation.”

Muzito called on all Africans to respond to the regional immunization initiative and ensure that all children under the age of five were protected. He expressed hope that the exercise would draw attention to Africa’s need for more resources to help children.

Approximately 180 countries and territories throughout the world conducted various events and activities in support of African Vaccination Week.