Sometimes my mind ponders how can we get more people involved for the right causes, the better things. Yes, we all want to do the right things, but then we convince ourselves that so many of those things aren’t all that important, or there is time later to do right by it. One such thing among many is Vaccinations – yes, we have defeated Polio, but this fight for better health, healthy infants who grow to be healthy adults is far from over. And unless we adults take the time to do right by it, we will be in trouble. You say what trouble? Hear this: Since January, fresh 40 cases of measles outbreak have been reported in Mumbai, these cases were from the areas that had high rates of refusal during the recent vaccination programme.
Thankfully, the time to do right about it is just around the corner with the advent of World Immunization Week. It stresses on the importance of Vaccinations as a means of fool-proof plans against vaccine-preventable diseases and that’s why today we are going to answer some important question around the World Immunization Week.
When does it start?
The last week of April is dedicated to this admirable venture. April 24th April till 30th.
Is there a theme for it?
This year it is “Protected Together – Vaccines Work”. It looks at promoting/celebrating vaccines and the people who make it possible – parents, health workers, innovators (who are designing more vaccines for better health care) and community members.
What is the purpose behind it?
Well, the purpose is to get people (everybody) vaccinated against all types of diseases (for which vaccines are available). Vaccination programs save millions of lives every year across the globe and are considered as the most successful venture for health measures. Immunization doesn’t just help the infant or an individual, it has a far-reaching benefit for countries and the world as a whole. Immunizations lead to better health, which means reduced costs for treatments. For nations, it also means assistance in achieving their Sustainable Development Goals like poverty reduction, and improved universal health coverage for all.
How many vaccinations are available?
Currently, there are about 26 vaccinations available. Few of them include Cervical cancer, Diphtheria, Rotavirus diarrhea, Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, Whooping cough, Pneumonia, Polio, Rubella, Tetanus, Cholera, Yellow fever.
What do the numbers say?
The largest number of reported immunizations took place in 2017 at 116 million kids. But there are still about 20 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated kids in the world. Despite many efforts, the global vaccination coverage is at 85% and hasn’t seen any major improvement in that area.
What do we hope to achieve?
Apart from a better and healthy world, fewer episodes of epidemics, curbed anti-microbial resistance, not to forget an additional 1.5 million (approx.) saved lives. It also provides a platform for adolescent health and improved new-born care.
What are the campaign objectives this year?
As part of the 2019 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:
Demonstrate the value of vaccines
Highlight the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment.
What can we do?
Every small effort helps. We can start by letting everyone know the importance of vaccinations. Ensure vaccinations are done on time. Routine check-ups should include a discussion around them, to know which all are required on what times. If you are traveling, check and see if there is any vaccination you are required to take.
Around 60% of the 20 million infants that have not been vaccinated are in 10 countries including ours – India. This tells us that the time to be united and do the right thing is now. We owe it to ourselves and the future.