World Immunization Week, which is observed annually in the last week of April, brings together partners from all over the world to promote the use of immunizations that protect people of all ages against disease. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have chosen the theme #LongLifeForAll for this year’s World Immunization Week. This year’s theme “Long Life for All” aims to unify everyone – political leaders, policymakers, immunization stakeholders, and communities – in creating awareness of the importance of vaccination in preventing illness and saving lives.
The 2022 theme also celebrates the enormous historical achievements of immunizations around the world. Vaccines have helped prevent dangerous and fatal infections in children and adults for over two centuries, making them one of the most remarkable successes of contemporary science, reducing infant mortality by half and saving millions of lives worldwide.
In 1796, smallpox was the first disease for which scientists created a successful vaccination. Since then, it has been used as the key to unlock inoculation secrets for countless other diseases. Nearly four million people a year perished from smallpox prior to the introduction of the vaccine in the 1970s – most of them were children. In the last 20 years alone, vaccinations against many prevalent illnesses have saved 37 million lives in poor and middle-income countries. The last week of April is celebrated as World Immunization Week, which seeks to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination and to encourage the use of vaccinations in order to protect people of all ages from disease.
Immunization During a Global Pandemic
Though containing the COVID-19 pandemic is the current priority, the work being done to develop new vaccines leads to a better knowledge of how to defend against illnesses in more ways than before. Health care workers, the elderly, and those with co-morbidities are all at risk from the COVID-19 vaccine and should be vaccinated. According to the WHO, vaccination against a wide range of infectious illnesses has advanced significantly over the past few decades, regardless of whether nations operate their own programs or collaborate with the WHO.
While acknowledging vaccines’ massive historical significance, the globe is also at a crossroads. COVID-19 placed enormous demand on global health systems and services, threatening to undermine years of hard-won progress on regular vaccines, especially in Kosovo. In 2020, an alarming 23 million youngsters globally would have skipped their vaccines. This figure can only be decreased if everyone commits to and invests in vaccination services. Prevent disease now and get your vaccines!