World Immunization Week is an annual event observed in the last week of April. It aims to educate the public about why vaccines are necessary for the health of millions of people around the world. For numerous reasons, children and adults miss out on essential vaccines which increases their risk of contracting various preventable diseases such as polio, measles, and smallpox. The purpose of this week is to identify challenges in gaining access to vaccines and overcome those barriers for the benefit of the global population. People now realize that unless everyone is safe from disease, nobody is truly immune.
History of World Immunization Week
Although great strides in inoculation had already been made in Asia and Africa, it was still very risky. Vaccination only really took off in England during the end of the 18th Century after becoming widely understood as a way to prevent smallpox. A patient waiting for her turn to see the doctor made an interesting comment. She remarked that she could not catch smallpox as she already had cowpox. Her comment did not escape the attention of Edward Jenner, a young medical student who was also present. He obsessed over the idea while completing his studies in London.
After graduating, he started practicing medicine in his hometown of Gloucestershire where he would eventually discover that the lady was right. While developing a cure for smallpox, he found that people who had cowpox had fewer chances of getting smallpox. After having successfully conducted the necessary experiments, he went on to give patients a light dose of cowpox to ensure their protection from the horrible plague of smallpox.
Further progress was made In 1798 when Jenner conducted another crucial test. Four children who had been vaccinated with cowpox were now given a weak form of smallpox to protect them against the disease. In support of his theory, not one of them caught smallpox. He made the great discovery of vaccination which today has helped researchers develop various vaccines to prevent life-threatening diseases.
World Immunization Week timeline
Edward Jenner produces the world's first smallpox vaccine
Ukrainian bacteriologist, Haffkine establishes the world's first vaccine against cholera and bubonic plague
American physician, Salk examines the effects of the inactivated polio vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the vaccine for the Human papillomavirus (HPV) in the U.S.
World Immunization Week FAQs
When is International Vaccination Day?
It is observed every year on March 6.
How do vaccines work?
There are engineered to trigger the body’s immune system which then protects the individual from disease.
What vaccines does every adult need?
There are at least six jabs that every adult should get. These include Chickenpox, Hepatitis A and B, and the Flu among others.
How to Observe World Immunization Week
Read up on the history of vaccination
Go to your local library or use the internet to learn about different diseases that have plagued humankind throughout the years. Also, research how those people dealt with the pandemics.
Strengthen your immune system
Those who have a weak immune system are more vulnerable to getting viruses. Besides getting vaccinated, working on strengthening your immunity is another way of preventing life-threatening diseases.
Collect funds for vaccination camps
Partner with different charitable organizations that provide vaccination to children across the globe to prevent diseases such as chickenpox and measles. Funds are needed in the research and development of vaccines where you can support efforts by providing financial assistance.
5 Intriguing Facts About The Human Body
The skin on our eyelids is only 0.04 inches thick.
Adults have about 1.2 to 1.5 gallons of blood in their body
Brain cells are the smallest in the human body
The human backbone consists of 206 separate bones called vertebrae.
The human body stops growing at about the age of 18.
Why World Immunization Week is Important
It supports research efforts to develop new vaccines
Viruses are microorganisms that spread many diseases amongst human beings, animals, plants, and trees. We support a day that celebrates advanced vaccines and conducting research to control the spread of diseases.
It highlights the benefits of immunization in developing countries
Many diseases such as the poliovirus and smallpox have been successfully eradicated in developed countries through the use of vaccines. This week helps create awareness about the benefits of immunization to prevent the spread of various life-threatening diseases.
People learn about the temporary side effects of vaccines
Nearly all types of vaccines have side effects that are usually mild and don't need medical attention. Many people don't get vaccinated without proper knowledge and information for fear of experiencing these side effects. Throughout the week, various seminars are held to raise awareness about the long-term benefits and temporary side effects of different types of vaccines.
World Immunization Week dates