It is an interesting time to be thinking about immunization practices, as the world is in the middle of a health pandemic without a vaccine. World Immunization Week is from April 24th-30th and the World Health Organization (WHO) is highlighting the benefits of vaccines and worldwide progress regarding vaccine coverage.
The goal is to demonstrate the value of vaccines
The main objectives of the #VaccinesWork for All campaign are to demonstrate the value of vaccines, increase engagement surrounding global immunization, and promote the importance of vaccines to improve the health of everyone around the world.
World Immunization Week crosses over with National Infant Immunization Week, which specifically pinpoints the importance of protecting children under 2 from vaccine-preventable diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), major achievements among infants and young children worldwide include:
- Vaccines have drastically reduced infant deaths and disabilities caused by preventable disease in the U.S.
- Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
- Routine childhood immunization among children born from 1994-2018 will prevent:
- an estimated 419 million illnesses,
- 8 million hospitalizations, and
- 936,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes.
“This is for a net savings of $406 billion in direct costs and $1.9 trillion in total economic impact,” says the CDC.
There are gains, but we still need progress
According to the WHO, nearly 20 million children are still unvaccinated and under-vaccinated worldwide. The WHO states that many low- and middle-income countries have made progress regarding immunization coverage, but that there are still gains to make.
“Despite gains, all targets for disease elimination – including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus – are unlikely to be achieved by the end of 2020. Over the last two years, the world has seen multiple outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, pertussis, and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” says the WHO.
The CDC states that although U.S. child vaccination is high, it is misinformation that can put communities at risk. “When misleading information spreads, vaccination coverage can fall and increase the risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, from January 1 to December 31, 2019, over 1,200 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states. This is the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.”
The WHO plans to utilize World Immunization Week to highlight the need to address immunization gaps, increase investments in vaccines and immunization, and continue to progress in order to decrease disease and save lives.
The WHO says that “expanding access to immunization is vital for achieving Sustainable Development Goals, poverty reduction, and universal health coverage. It’s 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.”
Vaccines are for everyone, everywhere
From infants to the elderly population, and everyone in between, the CDC and the WHO, have stated that vaccines can improve the health and well-being of everyone, anywhere.
The Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says that “vaccines are one of our most important tools for preventing outbreaks and keeping the world safe. While most children today are being vaccinated, far too many are left behind. Unacceptably, it’s often those who are most at risk (the poorest, the most marginalized, those touched by conflict or forced from their homes) who are persistently missed.”
So what is the WHO asking of countries and communities around the world through their World Immunization Week?
The WHO says that countries must do two things:
- intensify efforts to ensure all people receive the lifesaving benefits of vaccines
- work to sustain the progress that has been made
From April 24th-30th, the WHO has carved out a designated time to reflect on the importance of vaccines and focus on providing education and resources to communities around the world.
At Orbis Biosciences, we are dedicated to working together internally, and with our community and industry partners, to improve the quality of health for individuals of all ages, nationalities, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Now more than ever we are seeing researchers, community members, health industry leaders, and frontline workers coming together to protect and save the lives of others, and we couldn’t be more proud.
The World Health Organization has created The Vaccine Safety Net, which is a global network of websites that provides reliable information about vaccines.
The WHO has also provided the following videos for more information about vaccines:
How do vaccines work?
Why should I get vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together vaccination resources for parents: