World Immunization Week, celebrated annually in the last week of April, aims to raise awareness of the importance of collective action and encourage immunization among populations to prevent the spread of diseases.
During this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) collaborates with several countries to raise awareness of the importance of immunization and provide governments with the necessary guidance and technical support to establish quality immunization programs.
Organized under “The Big Catch-Up” banner, this year’s theme seeks to help nations get back on track and ensure the protection of more children and adults from preventable diseases with the assistance of the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners.
Following an immunization drop in over 100 countries, the main objective of World Immunization Week this year is to ensure that more children and adults are protected from diseases that can be prevented through vaccination.
On this occasion, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted that “WHO is supporting dozens of countries to restore immunization and other essential health services,” stressing that catching up should be a priority and that “no child should die of a vaccine-preventable disease.”
In a similar context, UNICEF recently reported a decline in vaccine coverage, with global childhood immunization rates dropping to 81% between 2019 and 2021, particularly in Africa and South Asia where 48 million children have not received a single vaccine dose.
WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the 2030 Immunization Agenda and several other global and national health partners, are joining forces to call for “The Big Catch-up”, a targeted global effort to boost vaccination among children following declines caused by the pandemic.
These organizations are also collaborating with countries to strengthen healthcare workforce, enhance healthcare services, increase community trust and demand for vaccines, and address gaps and barriers to restoring immunization.