The last week of April and first week of May marked the WHO's World Immunization Week. Throughout the week, they highlighted the progress made in immunizing children around the globe and outlined steps for further improvement. While there has been controversy in America over whether or not certain vaccines are necessary, immunizations are a vital part of keeping children alive in many developing countries where they are still experiencing diseases that we eradicated long ago. Here are some quick facts about immunizations worldwide:
1. Through vaccinations, we have eradicated polio in more than 125 countries since the late 1980s.
The only countries that still experience polio are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tackling these two countries for complete polio eradication is one of the points of WHO's six goals for immunization.
2. About 1 in 5 children across the world still do not have have regular access to vaccines that can prevent curable diseases.
There are still children suffering from polio, measles and rubella... All of these are diseases that have been eliminated in other parts of the world through vaccination.
3. Vaccines have the ability to save 1.5 million children every year.
These deaths are preventable, and thanks to the work done by the WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we are closer than ever to reaching populations suffering from curable illness.
While vaccines and access to immunization is readily available in America and other developed nations, that is not the case for millions of people across the globe. World Immunization Week is meant to bring awareness to this and to start a dialogue on how these vaccines can be provided to underserved populations. Polio, measles, and rubella are a start, but scientific progress has also put curing malaria and even HIV within reach.
There are millions of children suffering from the immunization gap. Share this post on social media with the hashtag #ImmunizationHasAPOINT if you agree!