World Immunization Week 2020
World Immunization Week (April 24-30) During the last week of April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and global public health partners recognize World Immunization Week – a time dedicated to promoting the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against diseases and death. CDC’s Global Immunization Division (GID) leads the U.S. Government’s efforts in what is widely recognized as one of the most effective of public health missions – vaccination against preventable diseases – a coordinated global mission that saves millions of lives every year.
This year’s theme, #VaccinesWork for All, emphasizes the importance of protecting people with vaccines throughout the lifespan and how society can benefit as we collectively pursue this goal.
Vaccines Work for All, the 2020 World Immunization Week theme, highlights the heroes who work to develop and deliver vaccines, and those who receive vaccines to protect the health of everyone, everywhere. I have spent my career in public health dedicated to ensuring that vaccines work for all – a key measure of health equity. We must continue the work to: empower parent or caregiver decision making; support providers to safely administer and deliver the life-saving benefits of vaccines; and ensure there vaccines are available so that everyone can be vaccinated, assuring the most vulnerable are reached.
As we celebrate this year’s World Immunization Week, we recognize that there is a pandemic and COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout the world. To minimize the further transmission of COVID-19, immunization programs are currently scaling back vaccine delivery. This was an important and responsible decision, but we know that there are people getting sick and dying from vaccine-preventable diseases.
As the world unites against COVID-19, we are reminded of how quickly emerging and new diseases can spread when there is no immunity against them or a vaccine to prevent them. However, for many of the world’s most dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases, we are seeing an increase in the number of individuals infected and in the number of deaths worldwide. Outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, yellow fever and other vaccine-preventable diseases are on the rise in recent years.
CDC remains committed to ensuring that Vaccines Work for All! We work with countries and partners to make sure vaccines are available, immunization systems are strong and trusted health and frontline workers are protected and supported as they deliver vital services within their communities.
As we continue to unite to respond to the pandemic of COVID-19, we must also continue to prepare to intensify our immunization efforts, when it is safe to do so. These efforts are to build resilient health systems, so that vaccines can be delivered to everyone everywhere.
CDC experts work with partners to eliminate and eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases among the world’s most vulnerable populations. During World Immunization Week, we highlight some examples of this work.
Listen to NACCHO’s WIW podcastexternal icon featuring CDC’s Global Immunization Director, William J. Schluter, MD [Interview starts at 7:05]
Ian Goldstein from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) interviewed CDC’s Dr. William W. Schluter about this year’s WIW Theme, Vaccines for All, and CDC’s work with global partners to create a world in which people everywhere are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, disabilities, and death. NACCHO comprises nearly 3,000 local and tribal health departments across the United States.
Read Polio Eradication Proves Trusted Partner in Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic to learn about how polio eradication partners are drawing on years of experience fighting outbreaks and reaching underserved communities to support governments as they prepare and respond to COVID-19.
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