Immunisation: How it greatly reduces disease, disability and death worldwide
Immunization can protect against 25 different infectious agents or diseases, from infancy to old age.
New Delhi: Getting immunised is important to protect yourself as well as those around you. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), immunisation averts two to three million deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles every year. This indicates that there is arguably no single preventive health intervention more cost-effective than immunisation.
However 22.6 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines, mostly in developing countries.
Here are some facts on immunisation:
- Immunization can protect against 25 different infectious agents or diseases, from infancy to old age, including diphtheria, measles, pertussis, polio and tetanus.
- Between 2010 and 2015, vaccines prevented at least 10 million deaths and many million lives were protected from illness.
- Any licensed vaccine is rigorously tested before it is approved for use, regularly reassessed and constantly monitored for side effects. In the rare event a serious side effect is reported, it is immediately investigated.
- WHO data reveals that more children are being immunised worldwide than ever before. During 2015, an estimated 116 million children under the age of one worldwide received three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine that protects against infectious diseases that can have serious illness and disability or be fatal.
- The first ever vaccine against malaria will be piloted in three African nations in 2018. A new vaccine against dengue has licensed in several countries.
- Accelerated immunisation activities have reduced the number of deaths from measles, which is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to a high fever, rash and can cause blindness, encephalitis or even death.
- Vaccinations not only prevent the suffering and death associated with infectious diseases, but also help enable national priorities like education and economic development to take hold.
World Immunization Week is observed in the last week of April each year. This year, it is held from 24-30 April. It aims to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunisation throughout one's life.