World Immunization Week 2016 - Close the Immunization Gap

Health Watch   - G J E 4
  • The World Immunization Week is celebrated in the last week of April every year
  • The theme for this year is the same as last year's - Close the Immunization Gap
  • Vaccination should be considered as the right and responsibility of every individual
The World Immunization Week is being celebrated by the World Health Organization from 24-30 April 2016 with the theme - Close the Immunization Gap. The theme celebrates the success achieved by immunization as well as aims to address issues that are yet to be resolved.
World Immunization Week 2016 - Close the Immunization Gap
World Immunization Week 2016 - Close the Immunization Gap

Following the first ever vaccine developed by Edward Jenner for small pox way back in the 18th century, immunization has come a long way in preventing vaccine-preventable deaths and saving lives.

‘Awareness of vaccination can go a long way in reducing vaccine-preventable deaths and prolonging life.’
Immunization is a procedure that is started right from birth. Childhood immunizations have reduced mortality from a wide variety of deadly infectious diseases like tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. Thanks to vaccination, small pox has disappeared from the surface of the earth, and polio is on its way out!

The World Health Organization has played a major role in ensuring that vaccination reaches throughout the world and hopes to achieve much more. Through the WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) and the support of the 194 signatory nations, in its Decade of Vaccines between 2011 and 2020, the WHO aims to:
  • Eradicate polio, and take steps towards elimination of measles, German measles, and neonatal and maternal tetanus among other diseases through vaccination. Polio has already been eradicated in most countries, including Africa. India is free of maternal and fetal tetanus, which is considered a huge achievement. America is the first region to be free of German measles.
  • Strengthen National Immunization Programmes so that they reach far and wide in their respective countries. Nations have to consider immunization as their priority.
  • Support research to introduce new vaccines or improve existing vaccines. As newer infectious diseases emerge, more research is required to develop vaccines that will counteract these diseases. The quality of vaccines should be such that no person should avoid taking a vaccine or giving it to their child because of safety issues.
When we talk about immunization, we usually imagine children being vaccinated. However, several vaccines are today available for adults which are often underutilized. The flu vaccine prevents respiratory infection in older adults. The tetanus vaccine protects pregnant women. The HPV vaccine is administered to adolescent girls to protect them against cervical cancer.

Immunization has reached several interior locations of the world and is often provided free of cost. However, there are still some people who do not have access to vaccines or other health care services. It is particularly important to reach these areas to ensure complete coverage.

Facts on Immunization
  • Immunization prevents 2-3 million deaths every year in all age groups
  • Every year over 1 million infants and young children die from pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea. The deaths can be prevented through vaccination
  • Measles mortality rate has declined by 74%, thanks to the intensified vaccination programs!
Increasing awareness of the importance and the safety of vaccination could play an important role in increasing coverage. Awareness should be created at an individual level, community level as well as at the government level. Individuals should be made aware that getting vaccinated is their right as well as their responsibility towards themselves as well as their society. Communities should involve themselves actively to achieve complete immunization. Countries should make vaccination as their priority. Adequate budget allotment should be made with the assumption that by preventing serious diseases, vaccination can reduce the burden on the health care systems.

In the World Immunization Week, let us make sure that we and all our near and dear ones are up-to-date with our vaccination.

Source: Medindia

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