WHO celebrates the last week of April as World Immunization week every year to highlight the importance of vaccine in protection of people against deadly diseases. This year the theme is called as “Long Life for All”, the campaign has its focus on sending a message that vaccination is the most successful and cost-effective health intervention and helps in saving millions of lives each year. WHO collaborates with health organizations and governments across the globe to raise awareness about the importance of immunization and vaccines to ensure the implementation is carried out efficiently. The end goal being the protection of people and communities across the world from various diseases.
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According to WHO, vaccination drive has been highly successful however coverage during the past decade has reached saturation. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a major relapsing on childhood immunization. WHO further states that global coverage has declined from 86% in the year 2019 to 83% the following year. Around 23 million infants did not receive basic vaccinations, this number has been the highest since 2009. The number of totally unvaccinated children reached 3.4 million. And only 19 vaccines were newly introduced in 2020, this number being the lowest in two decades. WHO has said that the reason for this disruption is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as personnel and resources have been diverted in support of the pandemic.
Why vaccination is important?
WHO states that if one fails to get vaccinated, the individual is at risk of getting infected with serious illnesses and disabilities such as polio, tetanus, measles, and meningitis, as globalization increases so does the risk of increased infections, which mostly affect the unvaccinated individuals. However; not everyone is eligible for vaccines including younger infants and people infected with chronic illnesses, hence they are dependent on others to get vaccinated to ensure protection.
How vaccines protect us?
Vaccines contain germs which our bodies can identify as invaders and develop immune response against it. All vaccines provide a tiny amount of the germ that causes the disease. This trains our immune system to fight against the particular disease so it can defend us in the future.