As we approach the end of April, organisations and individuals all around the globe are gearing up for World Immunisation Week, which aims to save the lives of millions of men, women and children. The purpose of the week is to raise awareness as to the importance of getting basic vaccines and boosters to protect against deaths caused by preventable diseases.
When is it?
World Immunisation Week takes place every year in the last week of April. In 2017, it will run from 24th to 30th April.
Who has it helped in the past?
The week is coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and they estimate that spreading this kind of awareness around preventable diseases and taking the necessary steps saves around two to three million lives every year. The scheme started back in 2012 and has so far run five very successful weeks. Each week has a different theme and is designed to make you actively think about immunisations. These campaigns have been titled “immunisation saves lives”, “Protect your world – get vaccinated”, “Are you up-to-date?” and “Close the immunisation gap”. This year the theme is “#VaccinesWork”.
What are the main problems that still exist?
This sort of publicity about global immunisations has seen tremendous benefits and 116 million children now have access to essential vaccines, which represents about 86% of all children. But at the same time, there are around 19 million children who still lack these essential vaccines that can prevent about 26 different infectious diseases, including measles, tetanus, polio, diphtheria and pertussis.
The majority of these children are based in less developed countries. 3.2 million are from India, 2.9 million are from Nigeria, 1.4 million are from Pakistan and there are just over 900,000 in both Indonesia and the Philippines.
How can I get involved?
There are five important points that the World Health Organisation seeks to encourage awareness of, in line with this week, and they are:
1. Vaccines are safe and effective
2. Vaccines prevent deadly illnesses
3. Vaccines provide better immunity than natural infections
4. Combined vaccines are safe and beneficial
5. If we stop vaccination, diseases will return
The aim of this week is to spread greater awareness to people you know about the importance of vaccines at all ages and to make sure older and younger members of our society have the correct immunisations and boosters. You can also join in with the #VaccinesWork campaign to help spread awareness of the above points among your social groups. Beyond that, support initiatives that provide vaccinations to the countries mentioned that receive the least amount of care.
For nurses and other health care professionals, we provide tailor-designed courses to bring you up to speed on how to effectively prevent certain diseases and also about any developments in those fields of research. For more information, please visit our dedicated course pages for TB Immunisation Training, Travel and Childhood Immunisation Training and Health Care Assistant Immunisation training.