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What is World Immunisation Week?

Every year millions of children around the world don’t have access to vaccine programs which would protect them from disease. 

Marked between 24 – 30 April annually, World Immunisation Week is a global campaign to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination against life-threatening, but preventable, disease. 

In developed countries, vaccination levels are generally high, with children protected against diseases including polio, hepatitis B, whooping cough and measles.

In many developing communities, however, vaccinations aren’t always available where they’re needed the most. 

Read on to learn more about World Immunisation Week, and why we believe it’s an important global observance.

How does immunisation work?

Immunisation works on the principle of training the immune system to recognise and destroy viruses or bacteria. The immune system is prepared by introducing antigens from a virus to the body via an injection. This process triggers an immune response and the body fights off the antigens. Should the person contract the respective disease in future, the body will immediately recognise the antigens and destroy them.

When was World Immunisation Week established?

Originally World Immunisation Week was celebrated on different dates around the world. It was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2012 and observed globally for the first time between 24 and 30 April in over 180 countries. 

The observance coincides with World Malaria Day, which falls on 25 April.

Why is immunisation an important issue?

Immunisation is a proven and cost-effective health strategy that saves over 3 million lives every year, but it is estimated that around 20 million children continue to go without the vaccinations they need. 
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported in 2018 that 60% of these children live in developing countries, including the Philippines and Vietnam.

What is the theme for World Immunisation Week 2020?

The 2020 campaign aims to improve engagement with immunisation as a routine practice globally, and highlight how vaccination can improve health and wellbeing. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is drawing significant attention to the issue of immunisation as the world works towards developing a vaccine. We can only expect the conversation to continue well after World Immunisation Week 2020 has passed.

Why get involved in World Immunisation Week?

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the impact a wide spread contagion can have on any society, not only in developing countries. This means we should all be aware of the importance of immunising ourselves against preventable disease, not only for our own health, but so we don’t become carriers and transmit infectious diseases to others. 

There has never been a more relevant time to get involved with World Immunisation Week.

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