What if there was a simple, definitive way to keep yourself AND your community safe from infectious diseases? Would you do it?
If you and your family are up to date on your vaccinations, you already have.
When most people in a community are vaccinated, diseases cannot spread as easily. This is called herd immunity. This protection is critical for the most vulnerable members of the community. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today.
In order to spread awareness on importance of immunization and its relation with healthy life, World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
This year Theme for World Immunization Week – Protected Together: Vaccines Work!
The campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected through the power of vaccines.
Vast progress but fragile gains
In 2017, the number of children immunized – 116.2 million – was the highest ever reported. Since 2010, 113 countries have introduced new vaccines, and more than 20 million additional children have been vaccinated.
But despite gains, all of the targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule, and over the last two years the world has seen multiple outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and various other vaccine-preventable diseases. Most of the children missing out are those living in the poorest, marginalized and conflict-affected communities.
In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must intensify efforts to ensure all people receive the lifesaving benefits of vaccines. Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made progress towards the goals must work to sustain the progress they have made.
2019 campaign objectives
The main goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunization throughout life
As part of the 2019 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:
- Demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities and the world.
- Highlight the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment.
- Show how routine immunization is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage.
Why immunization matters
Expanding access to immunization is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, poverty reduction and universal health coverage. Routine immunization provides a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the earliest beginnings and into old age.
Immunization is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, and providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.
Immunizations can save your child’s life:
Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. Polio is one example of the great impact that vaccines have had in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease, causing death and paralysis across the country, but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States.
Vaccination is very safe and effective:
Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.
Immunization protects future generations:
Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.