World Immunization Week 2023

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25 Apr 2023
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World Immunization Week 2023

    Catch up! Restore and strengthen routine immunization 

     

    World immunization week is celebrated every year on the last week of April (April 24 – April 30) to raise awareness and highlight the importance of vaccines and immunizations worldwide under the theme 'The Big Catch-Up,' WHO is collaborating with partners to accelerate quick progress in nations to get back on track and protect more people, particularly children, from preventable diseases. In this world of immunization week, let's understand the importance of vaccines and immunization.

     

    World Immunization Week 2023 Theme

     

    This year's World Immunisation Week theme is "The Big Catch-Up." The World Health Organisation is partnering with its partners to accelerate progress in getting nations back on track so that more people, particularly children, are protected against preventable diseases. World Immunisation Week aims to protect more children, adults, and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases, helping them to live happier, healthier lives.

     

    History Of World Immunization Week 

     

    The World Health Assembly approved World Immunisation Week in May 2012. The first World Immunisation Week was held in 2012, with over 180 countries participating globally. Before 2012, the scheduling of Immunisation Week events varied across the globe. The goal of this week is to identify obstacles to vaccine access and overcome them for the benefit of the world population. People have realized that no one is fully immune unless everyone is disease-free.

     

    Importance Of World Immunization Week 

     

    In 2021, 25 million children missed at least one routine vaccine, and 18 million received no vaccines at all. Immunization is an important component of primary health care and one of the best investments you can make to help make the world a healthier and safer place. We now have vaccines to prevent more than 20 deadly diseases, allowing individuals of all ages to live longer, healthier lives.

     

    What Are Vaccines And Immunization?

     

    Vaccines are weakened or destroyed forms of pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. There are different kinds of vaccines – live-attenuated, toxoid, inactivated, subunit, mRNA, and viral vector vaccines based on how and which part of the pathogen is used in preparation. They are given mostly by injections; sometimes they can be given orally or by spraying through the nose. Immunization is the process by which the body gets immunity to a particular disease via vaccination. Some vaccines offer life-long or prolonged immunity, while some need booster shots when the immunity starts to wane. 

     

    How Vaccines Work

     

    Once the pathogen enters our body, our immune system produces substances called antibodies to fight against the disease. The immune system has the quality to remember this disease as well as the process of fighting it. Vaccines also imitate this process but in a harmless way and help prevent infectious diseases. They provide antibodies in response to dead or weakened microbes and offer immunity without the disease.

     

    According to the (WHO) World Health Organization, immunization currently prevents 3.5 to 5 million deaths from diseases like tetanus and diphtheria every year. Currently, there are vaccines for more than 20 life-threatening disorders such as malaria, cholera, rabies, pneumonia, polio, rabies, rubella, mumps, meningitis, pertussis, and yellow fever. 

     

    Vaccines Are Safe

     

    Many people still fear getting vaccinations due to various reasons. It usually takes many years to develop a vaccine, and it must go through a large number of trials and tests before a vaccine comes into the market. Once the vaccine is introduced, national and international surveillance centers continuously monitor for any adverse effects to ensure the vaccine's safety. Most vaccine-preventable diseases are highly contagious and cause severe complications. So, it is important to remember that vaccine-preventable disease is far worse than the fear of vaccines and vaccine side effects. Severe side effects are rare. Mild side effects such as injection site reaction and fever may occur, but it usually goes away soon. 

     

    Though vaccines are safe, some categories of people are not recommended to get vaccines. People undergoing cancer treatment may have a weak immune system, and certain vaccines may initiate infection. People with chronic illnesses or life-threatening allergies and young babies may not be suitable for getting vaccines. Vaccination protects not only us but also the loved ones surrounding us. When an adequate number of individuals are vaccinated, the transmission of disease slows down or stops, and this is called herd immunity. 

     

    Immunization Programme In India

     

    Through a universal immunization program, the Government of India offers vaccines to infants, pregnant women, and children. Vaccines offered include,

     

    BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine), HPV vaccines, OPV (oral polio vaccine), Hepatitis B vaccine, Pentavalent vaccines, Rotavirus vaccine, PCV (pneumococcal vaccine), fIPV (Fractional Inactivated Poliomyelitis Vaccine), Measles/MR vaccine, JE vaccine (Japanese encephalitis), DPT booster (Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis), and Tetanus and adult diphtheria (Td) vaccine. Different vaccines are given at different ages. Go through the national immunization schedule for children, infants, and pregnant women vaccine-wise. Vaccines are available at both government and private hospitals. They are available free of cost for vaccine-preventable diseases at government hospitals. 

     

    Vaccination - Your Best Defense

     

    Get vaccinated, and Stay disease-free!

     

    Vaccinations ensure a long life for all. If you need to travel to a country where a particular disease is more common, you need to check with your doctor to be vaccinated against that disease. A healthcare professional can clarify all your doubts regarding vaccines and suggest suitable vaccines for you and your family. In this world of immunization week 2023, let's create awareness about immunization in our community.

    Written by
    author
    Dr. Karpagam Anand Medical Content Writer
    AboutPharm D
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