Vaccines bring us closer to the people, moments, goals we care about most

World Immunization Week 2021

April 23, 2021

Dear Colleagues,


World Immunization Week (WIW), observed each year during the last week of April, is a celebration of the life-saving power of vaccines. “Vaccines bring us closer,” this year’s theme, is especially poignant following more than a year of physical distancing measures and a growing portfolio of effective vaccines available to break the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this time last year, there was no COVID-19 vaccine, and many countries were pausing or scaling back immunization against dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases to minimize the risk of introduction and spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus within communities.  Against this sobering backdrop, now is the time to act with urgency to reach at-risk populations with all effective vaccines that protect human and animal health and bring us closer to a healthier, more equitable and secure future.

CDC is committed to addressing barriers to achieving high vaccine coverage worldwide by:

  • Strengthening immunization systems and vaccine delivery to create a world that is healthier, safer and more secure where we live, work and play
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers that hinder vaccine confidence and uptake and limit equitable access to lifesaving vaccines
  • Innovating to improve vaccine-preventable disease prevention, detection and response, including vaccine delivery methods to reach the most remote, isolated or insecure places in the world to help stop outbreaks where they start

This is a time of unprecedented challenge but also great opportunity for public health and global immunization efforts.  Momentum lost because of COVID-19 must be regained; progress toward polio eradication and measles and rubella elimination targets must not only resume but accelerate; and our experiences from the pandemic should become a springboard for lasting, transformative change to ensure we realize the goals detailed in the new Immunization Agenda 2030: A global strategy to leave no one behindexternal icon.  This is CDC’s commitment.

Join us in observing WIW, thanking all frontline workers and immunization partners worldwide and uniting in our efforts to advance the goal that vaccines bring us closer to preventing disease, protecting health and security and saving millions of lives.


/Rebecca Martin/
Rebecca Martin, PhD
Director, Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/W. William Schluter/
William Schluter, MD, MSPH
Director, Global Immunization Division
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Page last reviewed: April 23, 2021
Content source: Global Health