This week is World Immunization Week, which runs from April 24th to 30th. This campaign, celebrated worldwide, aims to champion the power of vaccines to protect our health, and prevent outbreaks.
More children today are immunized against major diseases than ever before. This has resulted in vast health gains, and significant reductions in deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases. New vaccines also offer significant promise. Just this week, the world’s first malaria vaccine was rolled out in a new pilot programme in Malawi, with the potential to reduce the burden of the disease in some of the most affected countries in Africa.
However, recent outbreaks show that risks loom large, and too many children – approximately 15% globally – are still not fully protected through vaccines. The resurgence of measles, even in countries where it had previously been eliminated, show the very real dangers of complacency around immunization.
This year’s #VaccinesWork campaign comes at a critical time. It will involve all of us – from governments, to health workers and individuals, in our role as parents, teachers, family members or friends – to ensure every person is vaccinated at the right time, and that we remain protected together.