This week is World Immunization Week and National Infant Immunization Week. This years world theme is Protected Together, #VaccinesWork. Immunizations can prevent illnesses, disability and death from numerous preventable diseases. This includes but is not limited to cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rota virus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus. Worldwide, approximately 19.5 million infants are still missing out on basic vaccines. From this, at least 1.5 million deaths per year could be avoided is immunization coverage is improved. In order to make improvements, the World Health Organization has been diligently working with many countries that are most in need of immunization improvement.
Here in the US, we recognize this week as National Infant Immunization Week. This week highlights the importance of immunizing children 2 years and younger. According to the CDC, routine childhood immunization in one birth group prevents an estimated 381 million illnesses, 24.5 million hospitalizations, and 855,000 early deaths over the course of their lifetimes, at a net savings of $360 billion in direct costs and $1.65 trillion in total societal costs. The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels. Not all diseases in the US are totally wiped out. In recent years, many cases of measles in the US have been on the rise despite the fact that this can be prevented due to a vaccine.
For information on how you and your organization can highlight both immunization weeks, go to:
- World Health Organization: www.who.int
- CDC: www.cdc.gov/vaccines
- Information on where to find a health center near you, click here!