Haiti plans to immunize 90 percent of children under the age of one

Haitian health authorities presented a plan to immunize 90 percent of children under the age of one by 2015 to a group of international partners convened by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization.

Over 2,000 children in Haiti under the age of five die annually from rotavirus and thousands more die of other vaccine-preventable diseases.

“When Haiti is well supported, its people can do incredible things,” Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO's deputy director, said, reports. “The earthquake and cholera outbreak have focused international support, providing an opportunity to help the country catch up in some areas and hopefully leap forward in others.”

The country needs more than $100 million in financing over five years to carry out the comprehensive vaccination plan. The plan includes goals such as introducing new rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines, eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2015, keeping the country free of polio, measles, and rubella, and increasing the immunization coverage among children under one from 60 to 90 percent, according to

PAHO/WHO is coordinating the participation of partners for the Ministry of Public Health and Population. The partners are expected to support the plan with supporting the building of cold storage for vaccines, providing training for healthcare workers and in funding the project.

“The plan is unusual in that it brings together coordinated support from a broad range of actors,” Dr. Ciro de Quadros, the executive vice-president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Chairman of PAHO's Technical Advisory Group on vaccine-preventable diseases, said, according to “I have worked with Haiti for 34 years, and this plan is one of the most remarkable ones I've seen in terms of technical cooperation and partnership in support of the country.”