World Immunization Week: for what purpose is it celebrated?

During the last 7 days of April, World Immunization Week is celebrated. The commemoration began at the initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), with the aim of bringing information to all sectors about the real benefits of vaccines.

Despite the fact that vaccines are considered a very effective immunization strategy against a significant number of diseases, so far it has not been possible to cover all the desired sectors. This is demonstrated with an approximate of 20 million children in the world who do not receive the essential vaccines for its safe development.

In short, to get into the subject, we will take a tour of the information on how vaccines work, the details of World Immunization Week and how it is possible to capture participation.

How do vaccines work?

The methods for developing and manufacturing a vaccine are varied. Inactivated or attenuated viruses or bacteria can be used; fragments of microorganisms; or genetic material.

Whole virus or bacteria method

Within this method we can find inactivated vaccines, attenuated vaccines and those related to viral vectors. What exactly is it about ?:

  • Inactivated vaccines: the process is developed by isolating the virus or bacteria, so that it can be destroyed or rendered ineffective with the use of radiation, heat or some chemical substance. In turn, the limitation is that the manufacturing times are long.
  • Live vaccines: For attenuated vaccines, the pathogenic virus is used or one with very similar characteristics is used. In this case, it is actively preserved, albeit with considerable weakening.
  • Vaccines associated with viral vectors: A harmless virus is used to move proteins from the pathogen, promoting specific activation of the immune system. The main advantage is the reduced manufacturing times.

The vaccine manufacturing process follows different paths, depending on whether it is attenuated, inactivated or fragmented microorganisms.

Method with virus fragments

In this method, antigenic subunits are taken, which can also be considered as fragments.. This is how the immune system recognizes them. These antigenic subunits, in most cases, are carbohydrates and proteins.

Method with genetic material

They are known as nucleic acid vaccines and its advance consists of the use of a sequence of genetic material that gives the guidelines and instructions for the production of particular proteins that promote immunization against the virus.

It may interest you: 6 essential vaccines for health

World Immunization Week

World Immunization Week has a gigantic relevance for reducing the number of deaths from diseases that medicine has managed to control. Indeed, the motto for the celebration of 2021 is «Vaccines bring us closer».

This campaign seeks create ties between people from different sectors to increase health guarantees and that everyone can meet again. Regarding its general objectives are the following:

  • Increase acceptance of vaccines of many sectors of the world's population.
  • Bring accurate information on vaccine manufacturing methods to build confidence.
  • Incentivize greater investment in health systems.
  • Increase citizen access to immunization methods.

The achievements of the vaccination days in the world can be evidenced from the statistics. One of the most surprising is in the initiatives carried out in the countries of the Americas, since more than 900 million people have been vaccinated and up to 6 preventable diseases have been eliminated.

How are the objectives oriented? This is a frequent question and the answer is in the slogans of each World Immunization Week. Therefore, we will know the topics on which he has focused in the past:

  • 2012: «Protect your world: immunization saves lives».
  • 2013: «Protect your world: get vaccinated».
  • 2014: «Immunization for a healthy future. Know, check, protect».
  • 2015: «Closing the immunization gap: vaccination for all».
  • 2016: «Closing the immunization gap: immunization for all throughout life».

World Immunization Week 2017: «Vaccines work»

Make the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) visible to avoid millions of deaths due to diseases that have a definitive solution. In addition, guarantee sustainable development from solid health systems.

World Immunization Week 2018 and 2019: «Protected together, vaccines work»

A generic approach was made on the functioning of vaccines, extolling the people who ensure that their environment is protected; health workers and donors who allow, from economic resources, to finance the expansion of vaccines. A fair and necessary team to advance.

World Immunization Week 2020: «Vaccines work for everyone»

An attempt to integrate children, adolescents, adults and the elderly in vaccination days to get away from diseases that can put their lives at great risk, canceling any limitation due to age. On the other hand, there was the intention to recognize the hard work of the people who are responsible for developing and administering vaccines.

Read also: 7 questions about vaccination

How can I participate?

Participation in World Immunization Week can be done from any space thanks to the instant connection that the internet allows. Among the main activities that have been carried out over the years are the following:

  • Use the hashtag #VaccinesThey work on social media to tell a personal experience or explain how this immunization method works.
  • Replicate the official material provided by WHO.
  • If you belong to the health sector, open a day of answers to the most frequent questions during the week about vaccines.
  • Make statistics visible.
  • Make donations.

Global immunization faces certain obstacles, which are evident in the gaps between countries with greater and lesser resources.

Final thoughts on World Immunization Week

Ending the myths surrounding vaccines that make people walk away from immunization is everyone's job. The objective is that the number of neutralized diseases is increasing for an increasing quality of life.

In World Immunization Week, the fight for the elimination of diseases that have vaccines, such as the following:

  • Poliomyelitis.
  • Measles.
  • Rubella.
  • Hepatitis B virus.
  • Flu.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Diphtheria.
  • Tetanus.

This list will continue to increase over the years, so you should advance, vaccinate and immunize in the shortest possible time. Are you ready to be part of the change?

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