World Immunisation Week and the Significance of This Year's Theme

The doctor also referred them to a hospital in Dhanbad. The father of one took the baby to Dhanbad but the two others remained in the hospital here. All three died on Tuesday.

Cost-effective and safe, it's a proven fact that vaccines save millions of lives every year. Yet, there are close to 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today. This means that a sizeable percentage of kids are at the mercy of potentially fatal, infectious diseases.

What is World Immunisation Week?

World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – hopes to highlight the urgent need for immunisation against vaccine-preventable diseases for children and adults the world over.

What is the theme this year and what does it hope to achieve?

2019’s theme ‘Protected Together: Vaccines Work!’ aims to celebrate both the people who work tirelessly for the cause of vaccinations as well as educate the masses about the value of getting vaccinated early.

However, raising awareness about how routine immunisation is necessary for resilient global health systems is not the only thing required for large scale success. This year’s campaign also hopes to address how to improve the progress of vaccinations through better collaboration, technology, and funding/investment.

Why does it matter?

Despite all its success over the past years, the world has seen multiple outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, and various other vaccine-preventable diseases over the last couple of years. Many of the children who don’t have access to vaccine-protection are from the poorest, marginalised and most conflict-affected communities. So, as long as life matters, expanding the reach of immunisation also matters. Routine inoculations give everyone the best fighting chance at good health and a better quality of life from early to old age.

Spotlight on Facts

● Between 2000 and 2016, there was 84% drop in measles deaths worldwide, due in large part to better measles vaccinations.

● 85% of babies worldwide were vaccinated with 3 doses of DTP vaccine in 2017, yet 19.9 million infants did not receive any in the same year.

● India was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in 2014 while the world over Polio cases have decreased by over 99% since 1988.

● 162 countries now use the Rubella vaccine.

● 62% of Indian children between the ages of 12-23 months were found to be fully immunised ((BCG, measles, and 3 doses each of polio and DPT)) during NFHS-4(national family health survey 2015-2016).

● The Indian government launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) campaign on October 8, 2017. The program hopes to reach and protect every child up to 2 years old and pregnant women who were not covered under the routine immunisation programme to ensure over 90% complete immunisation by December 2018.