Posted by: APO | 24 April 2013

MSD Africa Supports World Immunization Week

MSD Africa Supports World Immunization Week

World Health Organization calls for greater awareness of the public health benefits of vaccination

LUCERNE, Switzerland, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ MSD Africa ( today announced its support of World Immunization Week, an annual global initiative launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners on April 20th to promote immunization for people of all ages through advocacy, education and communication. WHO’s Africa Regional office (AFRO) has launched AFRO Immunization Week 2013 on 23 April to highlight the importance of protecting people in the region who are at significant risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. The theme of this year’s World Immunization Week is “Protect your world – get vaccinated.”

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Vaccines have had a profound impact on public health. They help to prevent more than 30 common, yet potentially fatal, infectious diseases and to avert long-term disability(1) and an estimated two to three million deaths worldwide each year(2). However, the benefits of immunization need to extend beyond children, to reach adolescents and adults, and provide protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis and cervical cancer.

“Vaccines have not yet reached all those in the world who need them,” said Professor Dr Lynette Denny, Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Groote Schuur Hospital/University of Cape Town. “World Immunization Week aims to reinforce the message that timely vaccination prevents disease and to mobilize action to improve vaccination coverage for the world’s at-risk individuals of all age groups. This is particularly important with regard to cervical cancer, a disease that disproportionately afflicts women in developing countries, where 76 to 86 percent of all cases occur(3).”

Although there have been great successes with vaccination in Africa, many challenges remain. An estimated 22.4 million infants worldwide have not received the recommended three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, with the majority of these infants coming from 10 countries, including Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. Further, more than 1.5 million children under the age of five – most of them in low-income countries – die from diseases that could be prevented by currently available vaccines(4).

“At MSD we are pleased to support World Immunization Week, which provides an important opportunity to raise awareness about the positive public health impact of vaccination,” said Soren Bo Christiansen, president, MSD, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region. “MSD is proud of its ongoing commitment to preventing these diseases worldwide. More than ever, we recognize that the value of vaccination has moved beyond the reduction of infant mortality, and is becoming an integral component of the provision of healthcare services, from infancy to old age, across the globe. It is our goal to press forward with innovative solutions to making vaccines available, limit potentially preventable deaths and improve quality of life. In Africa, MSD is pursuing a systematic and thoughtful approach to improve access to vaccines through four key pillars, innovation, partnerships, pricing and support with implementation.”

More information on World Immunization Week is available at:

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

Media Contact:

MSD, Alain Barry, +212 522 42 32 60,

MSD, Antonia Lang, +43 664 523 69 18,

About MSD

Today’s MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada) ( is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. MSD is a trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Whitehouse Station, N.J., U.S.A. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit

MSD’s Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the benefits of the merger between MSD and Schering-Plough, including future financial and operating results, the combined company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of MSD’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of MSD and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; MSD’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the United States and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions.

MSD undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in MSD’s 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (


1. World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank. State of the world’s vaccines and immunization. 3rd edition. Geneva 2009.

2. World Health Organization. Immunization. Available at: – Accessed February 2013

3. Arbyn M, et al. “Worldwide burden of cervical cancer in 2008.” Annals of Oncology 2011; 22(12):2675–2686.

4. World Health Organization, UNICEF, Global Immunization Data. October 2012


Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.


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