World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April – 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. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today.
The theme this year is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!, and 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.
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.
Above written by: World Health Organization
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