Beginning in 1994 during the last week of April, a nation-wide effort has taken place to raise awareness about the critical role vaccinations play in protecting children and public health from preventable diseases. Supplemental to the efforts here in the United States, the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World Immunization Week, this year running from April 24 – April 30th. This year’s Immunization Week campaign is themed #VaccinesWork.
This annual celebration of the effectiveness of vaccinations is as important as ever. Through immunization, vaccinations can effectively protect infants and children from 14 preventable diseases before age two. The importance of immunizations was brought into the spotlight again in 2014 when the United States experienced a major measles outbreak resulting in 667 cases from 27 states. The most reported cases since measles was eradicated in 2000.
National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is a perfect opportunity for nurses and other healthcare professionals to discuss the importance of vaccinations with their patients. Not only with obvious parents of younger children but to everyone. Each person that hears about the importance and benefits of childhood immunizations will then have an opportunity to discuss it with a friend or loved one.
Worldwide, immunizations prevent 2 to 3 million deaths every year. However, an additional 1.5 million could be averted through better global vaccine coverage. Supplemental Health Care understands the criticality of children receiving life-saving vaccines and since 2014, has partnered with Vaccine Ambassadors to help provide immunizations for more than 5,000 children annually.
There are a number of resources available to help spread the word about NIIW, from downloadable coloring sheets for your waiting room to immunization resources to share with parents and on social media. Other ways you can participate in awareness efforts is to schedule a talk at a local PTA meeting or pitch a news story to your local newspaper. The CDC has prepared a media toolkit that walks you through the steps necessary to create an effective message.
What are your plans for participating in immunization week activities? Are you planning to share information on your social media pages? Let us know about your involvement in the comment section below, or visit us on our Facebook page and tell us your story.