Washington: Monica and Friends are encouraging people to get vaccinated as part of the Pan American Health Organization´s (PAHO´s) 18th Vaccination Week in the Americas, which runs April 25 to May 2, with the slogan “Love. Trust. Protect. #GetVax.”
PAHO has said that vaccination is an essential service that must continue, with adaptations to local contexts to protect health care workers and communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases from overburdening health systems that are already stressed. Many countries in the Americas are focusing on seasonal influenza vaccination to prevent serious respiratory illnesses, and giving measles vaccines to protect children and prevent outbreaks.
As part of the collaboration between PAHO and Monica and Friends, known as Turma da Mônica in its native Portuguese and Mónica y Sus Amigos in its Spanish version, a series of posters and social media cards depicting the beloved characters of Monica and her friends with the Vaccination Week slogan will be used to promote vaccination.
Monica and Friends joins the list of other celebrities and artists who have lent their voices to the Vaccination Week in the Americas campaign, including Jamaican Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, Uruguayan soccer star Edinson Cavani, Chilean television star Don Francisco, the characters from Sesame Street, and South-American singer-songwriter Ricardo Montaner, among others.
“It is essential that vaccination continues during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are grateful to Monica and Friends for using their art to help us promote that message,” said Andres de Francisco, director of PAHO´s Family, Health Promotion and Life Course Department.
Mauricio de Sousa, Brazil’s most famous and honored cartoonist, creator of Monica and Friends and more than 300 characters that populate his popular comics, magazines and books, was honored by PAHO in 2003 as a “Champion of Health of the Americas” for his work communicating public health messages to children and adults. According to Sousa, taking part in campaigns like this is essential to stop vaccine-preventable diseases. “We need to highlight the capacity of vaccines to save lives and offer protection against disease for everyone,” he points out.
Vaccination Week in the Americas began in 2003 following a multi-country measles outbreak in 2002 that required a coordinated response. More than 806 million people have been vaccinated under the campaign´s framework.