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World Immunization Week

Photo: Immunization prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. During World Immunization Week, beginning on April 24th, CDC, partners and countries around the globe aim to promote one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect, or "immunize", people of all ages against disease.

The Value of Vaccination

Immunization prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. Without vaccines, global eradication of smallpox and elimination of poliomyelitis and measles from large parts of the world would have been impossible. New, improved vaccines are now available to protect not just children, but also adolescents and adults. Yet 1 in 5 children (22.6 million), and many adults, are missing out every year. A lack of awareness about the value of vaccination is a key reason why some adults consciously choose not to get vaccinated themselves or to vaccinate their children.

For this year's World Immunization Week campaign, we encourage people around the world to find out what vaccines they should have, check their vaccination status, and get the vaccines they need.

Immunization is a global health priority at CDC focusing on polio eradication, eliminating measles and rubella, and strengthening immunization delivery systems. CDC works closely with a wide variety of partners and national governments in more than 60 countries to ensure that children are protected, and provides scientific and technical support to ministries of health to strengthen and expand countries' capacities to ensure effective and efficient national immunization programs that reach every child.

World Immunization Week – Are you up-to-date?

World Immunization Week, beginning on 24 April 2014, aims to promote one of the world's most powerful tools for health—the use of vaccines to protect, or "immunize", people of all ages against disease. The observance gives countries and our partners around the world a focused opportunity to raise public awareness of how immunization saves lives—during the same week, every year, in every country. Activities include vaccination campaigns, training workshops, round-table discussions, public information campaigns, and more.

Why? Well, by making sure that you and your family are up-to-date with the vaccines you need, you give yourselves the best chance of a healthy future.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), launched by the World Health Organization in 1974, originally containing vaccines to protect against 6 major diseases: tuberculosis, polio, measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Since then, the EPI program has reached into every country in the world and has expanded to include other life-saving vaccines. The lives of more than 2 million children could be saved if Hib, pneumococcal, and rotavirus vaccines were used in all countries. Using these vaccines can result in at least a 40% reduction in the deaths caused each year by pneumonia and diarrhea among children younger than 5 years old.

National Infant Immunization Week

Each year, thousands of children in the United States become ill from diseases that could have been prevented by basic childhood immunizations. Countless more miss time from day care and school because they are under-immunized or inappropriately immunized.

During the week of April 26 – May 3, 2014, National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is observed to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in promoting healthy communities throughout the United States.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of NIIW. When the NIIW observance was established in 1994, immunization programs were facing significant challenges. The nation was in the midst of a serious measles outbreak and communities across the U.S. were seeing decreasing immunization rates among children. NIIW provided an opportunity to draw attention to these issues and to focus energy on solutions.

Today, communities continue to use the week each year to raise awareness about the importance of ensuring all children are fully protected from vaccine preventable diseases through immunization.

  • Page last reviewed: April 21, 2014
  • Page last updated: April 21, 2014
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