The aim of World Immunization Week is to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
Every year, millions of lives are saved, thanks to immunization, which is widely recognized as one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
However, nearly 20 million children are still unvaccinated and under-vaccinated worldwide.
Immunization is one of the greatest success stories in global health, saving millions of lives every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.
This year, as we mark World Immunization Week, all eyes are on Covid-19. Routine vaccination however, must continue.
Immunisation guidelines issued by the WHO on 26 March warn that shutting down immunization services in the Covid-19 pandemic risks triggering a resurgence of diseases like measles and meningitis that can be prevented with vaccines that are both safe and effective.
“Disruption of immunisation services, even for brief periods, will result in increased numbers of susceptible individuals and raise the likelihood of outbreak-prone vaccine preventable diseases”.
According to the WHO, more than 20 life-threatening diseases are being prevented by immunization – including measles, meningitis, polio, chickenpox, cholera, hepatitis and seasonal influenza (flu). The WHO adds that more than 116 million, or 86 percent, of all infants born are vaccinated every year – a number that has held firm for the last ten years. While, vaccination has routinely prioritised children in the past, today, it is increasingly protecting health among people of all ages.
Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them.
It uses your body’s natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger.
Most vaccines are given by an injection, but some are given orally (by mouth) or sprayed into the nose.
Although some diseases may have become uncommon, the germs that cause them, continue to circulate in some or all parts of the world. In today’s world, infectious diseases such as Covid-19 can easily cross borders and infect anyone.
Why is it important to get vaccinated? Simply put, to protect ourselves and those around us. Not everyone can be vaccinated, including very young babies, those who are seriously ill or have certain allergies.
This vulnerable group of people therefore depend on others being vaccinated to ensure they are also safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccination is safe and its side effects are usually minor and temporary.
Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested across multiple phases of trials before it is approved for use, and regularly reassessed once it is introduced. Scientists are also constantly monitoring information from several sources for any sign that a vaccine may cause health risks.
Keep vaccinating and stay safe.