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World Immunization Week – beginning on 20 April – 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.
Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. From infants to senior citizens, immunization protects against diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus. The benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis, and cancers (cervical and liver cancers).
However, even now, an estimated 22 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines, and more than 1.5 million children under 5 die from diseases that could be prevented by existing vaccines.
The ultimate goal of World Immunization Week is:
For more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
This week is also National Infant Immunization Week, learn more about how to protect your baby with immunization.