Updated: Jul 24
World Immunization Week is a global public health campaign that aims to raise awareness and increase vaccination rates to protect people of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases. This year's campaign, which runs from April 24 to 30, has the theme "The Big Catch-up", which highlights the importance of catching up on missed immunizations and restoring progress towards global immunization targets.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routine immunization services around the world, causing millions of children to miss out on life-saving vaccines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 23 million children missed out on basic childhood vaccines through routine immunization services in 2020. This disruption has also affected adolescent and adult immunization, leaving many people at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, polio, and pertussis.
"The Big Catch-up" aims to address this challenge by encouraging countries to intensify efforts to catch up on missed immunizations and to restore immunization services disrupted by the pandemic. This includes addressing the barriers that prevent people from accessing vaccines, such as misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, and lack of access to healthcare services. It also involves strengthening health systems to ensure that immunization services can be delivered effectively, safely, and equitably.
The goal of "The Big Catch-up" is to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to essential vaccines and that no one is left behind. This is critical to achieving global health targets, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which aim to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities around the world.
As individuals, we can also play a role in catching up on missed immunizations and promoting vaccination in our communities. This includes staying up-to-date with our own vaccines, encouraging family and friends to do the same, and sharing accurate information about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
In conclusion, World Immunization Week 2023 with the theme "The Big Catch-up" serves as a reminder of the importance of immunization in protecting our health and the health of our communities. By catching up on missed immunizations and ensuring equitable access to vaccines, we can work towards a healthier and more resilient future for all.