The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) normally promotes World Immunization Week at the end of April. The week is dedicated to promoting the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against diseases and death. Never could we have imagined how important this week would be in 2021.
COVID-19 has ravaged our world with a fury that hasn’t been seen in a hundred years. We will never forget this. We will pass the stories down to our children and grandchildren, who are currently too young to understand everything that was gone through to try and protect as many people as possible. The world is now focusing on the new vaccines to protect against COVID-19 and with good reason. We want our lives back again. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how quickly new diseases can spread when we have no immunity or vaccine to prevent them. It has been a pretty scary year for all.
Now that there is hope on the horizon, we must not forget that routine vaccinations need to be completed. Immunization programs were scaled back around the world in 2020 to minimize COVID-19 transmission. Especially important now are the children who did not get their routine immunizations due to the pandemic. This puts them at increased risk for diseases like measles, polio and other vaccine preventable diseases. It’s time to get moving and finally get caught up with those missed vaccinations.
The fact that misinformation continues to be a problem around the topic of vaccines is an added threat to our world. Trust and confidence are important to maintain and increase vaccine acceptance. Investment in vaccine programs is vitally important to remove access barriers.
World Immunization Week 2021 will promote greater engagement globally around immunizations and promote the importance of vaccines. Let’s all work together to promote vaccines for people of all ages. Check with your primary care physician and pediatrician to make sure everyone in your family is up to date and if they aren’t, you know what you need to do.