Sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Immunization Week (April 24-30) isa global public health campaign designed to raise awareness about the critical importance of immunization throughout the world. Vaccines can protect people – children and adults – from over 20 infectious diseases. The goal of World Immunization Week is to increase immunizations against vaccine-preventable diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (“whooping cough”), measles, polio, and meningitis A.
This year’s theme is “Closing the immunization gap – Immunization for all throughout life.” According to WHO, important gains have been made. In 2014, 115 million infants globally received diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, and 85% of children received one dose of measles vaccine before their first birthday. Today, only two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan) remain polio-endemic – down from 125 countries in 1988.
More work is needed. To support World Immunization Week, the World Health Organization has made available a campaign toolkit to raise awareness and promote global immunization. Here are a few of the toolkit’s important facts:
- Immunization prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.
- Global vaccination coverage is generally holding steady.
- Uptake of new and underused vaccines is increasing.
- Immunization currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year.
- Roughly 18.7 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines
For more information on Word Immunization Week visit the links below: