VACUNATON was a mass vaccination campaign - organised as a televised health festival with television spots preceding it - conducted on April 15 2012 in 48 of 323 municipalities in Bolivia, selected due to their risk for measles and rubella. The goal was to vaccinate up to 200,000 children, aged two to five years old, who were not vaccinated during the follow-up campaign conducted between October and November 2011. The key media strategy featured a live television broadcast, which covered the national launches in all the main cities of the country.

Communication Strategies: 

As part of activities of the Vaccination Week of the Americas, in the city of La Paz, the opening ceremony featured various prominent personnel - e.g., the Minister of Health and Sports - inaugurating the vaccination campaign against measles and rubella and discussing its importance for the health of the country. The inaugural event also featured symbolic vaccination by the Minister of Health and Sports, the Representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), and the Director of SEDES La Paz (El Servicio Departamental de Salud de La Paz), to children aged two, three, four, and five years old. Reports of vaccination by authorities were broadcast nationally to announce the number of children who had been vaccinated so far.


The vaccination campaign was carried out throughout the day in 47 municipalities, which, from their various vaccination posts, adopted different communication approaches, including playful ways to attract the attention of children and general public. A live television broadcast covered the national launches in all the main cities of the country. The central events, meanwhile, featured animated musical groups and the presence of the ambassadors of the Vacunatón, who constantly invited people to join this campaign.


The event concluded at 18:30 with the latest report by the Minister of Health and Sports, who announced that the campaign had reached out to vaccinate an estimated 126,000 children in the country, and still awaited the results of the other municipalities in the coming days. He congratulated Bolivians who joined this journey and cooperated in it and invited them to continue doing so. For his part, a representative of PAHO/WHO stressed the importance of vaccines and urged people to vaccinate their children and thus protect against both diseases.


Television spots were broadcast to galvanise support and participation prior to this entire experience. One example can be seen below; the entire VACUNATON playlist can be accessed here.

Development Issues: 

Immunisation and Vaccines

Key Points: 

In 2011, Bolivia initiated a measles-rubella follow-up campaign as part of its strategy to persist in the elimination of measles and rubella in the region of the Americas and in response to the risk of virus reintroduction due to large outbreaks in Europe and Africa. Bolivia set a goal to vaccinate: 917,546 children aged two-five years old; all women aged 22-44 years old that were not vaccinated during the "speed-up campaign" of 2006 because of pregnancy; health care workers; and personnel in contact with tourists and travelers (airports, hotels, and transportation terminals). After it was established that vaccination coverage had not reached >75% at the end of 2011, VACUNATON was designed to achieve the vaccination goals.


During the VACUNATON, Bolivia vaccinated 177,976 children aged two-five years old. A nationwide health sector strike that lasted from March 15 to May 15 2012 threatened the VACUNATON. However, a compromise was reached between the conflicting parties, which allowed resumption of the organisation and implementation of VACUNATON.


As of November 2012, Bolivia had achieved >95% coverage against measles and rubella nationwide.

Partner Text: 

Bolivia's Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) of the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Bolivian Network for Communication in Risk (REBCOR), the Catholic University, Armed Forces and National Police, health non-governmental organisations (NGOs), television channels, and every EPI team responsible for immunisation and social communication at the departmental level.

See video

Global Immunization News [PDF], January 2013; and PAHO website, February 1 2013.