Our New Blog Kicks Off for World Immunization Week 2012!

Posted on by Dr. Kevin De Cock

Dr. Kevin De Cock is Director of the CDC Center for Global Health (CGH).

Dr. Kevin De CockMany voices join in the inspirational stories of global health. Today we begin sharing these stories through a new blog we call “Our Global Voices.” Check in often to hear and share in global health stories  from around the world. We invite you to join the conversation on important global health topics. In this blog you’ll interact with CDC’s global health leaders and staff working to improve health and save lives around the world.

We kick off our blog today with the first ever World Immunization Week, observed April 21-28, 2012. Immunization prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year worldwide. World Immunization Week is a global event sponsored by the World Health Organization to underscore the importance of immunization in saving lives and to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.

Let me share three reasons why immunization is so important to protecting children and for improving health for all of us.

Immunization works
If ever the term “breakthrough” applies to public health, it applies to immunization. Through this approach we have witnessed extraordinary progress against a host of infectious diseases that caused incalculable suffering and loss throughout most of human history. Today safe and effective vaccinations spare the lives of countless children, and at the same time protect parents and families. Diseases like diphtheria, pertussis, measles, rubella, and polio once swept through communities. Now, most people in developed countries never encounter anyone who’s had any one of these diseases because immunization works so well at preventing or even eradicating them. Some vaccines, like those against human papilloma virus and hepatitis B virus, for example, prevent later complications such as cancer of the liver and cervix, respectively.

Child receiving measles vaccine. Photo credit: C. McNab/Measles Initiative
Child receiving measles vaccine. Photo credit: C. McNab/Measles Initiative

Immunization is possible
CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are helping countries assure that no fewer than nine out of ten children in every country receive the three-dose diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine by their first birthday. By 2009 coverage reached 82 percent. In January 2012, India marked its first anniversary without a single case of polio.  Successful polio elimination in the world’s second largest country demonstrates, again, that immunization works and immunization is possible.

Immunization is right
The public health tradition upholds the ideal of social justice.  We can attribute the virtual elimination of severe illness and death from childhood diseases in the world’s affluent countries to safe, effective vaccines. Immunization works; its safety and affordability make immunization possible everywhere. But just as measles progress has shown to be fragile in Europe when immunization uptake declines, so it is across much of Africa where weak programs lead to renewed outbreaks and deaths. Measles can then affect unvaccinated individuals and communities in the US. Our commitment to social justice obliges us to recognize that regardless of where they live, children and adults need not suffer from diseases we can and should prevent.  That is the promise and moral obligation of immunization.

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4 comments on “Our New Blog Kicks Off for World Immunization Week 2012!”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    It is indeed ironic that when the CDC, WHO, and other wold health organizations are working tirelessly to vaccinate the world’s children to eliminate childhood diseases, that parents in the U.S., in ever increasing numbers, are electing to forego vaccinations for their children. A vast number of these parents have college degrees up to and including doctoral degrees and have bought into the misguided notion that vaccines cause autism. In spite of all of the research debunking and ultimate retraction of the report in a respected medical journal that started all of this, as well as the new research indicating the genetic origins of the ASD, the facts don’t seem to matter to those parents. When asked, they allude to the “government” distributing misinformation to protect the pharmaceutical industry. That level of paranoia emanates from what I call “willful ignorance” and it seems no amount of information will dissuade them from that notion. The increase in whooping cough cases is an illustration of the dangers of non-vaccination. The point that doesn’t seem to penetrate is that children can die from these diseases, but perhaps, these parents just don’t want to think it can happen to them. Magical thinking lives…

    I like this our global voice information. I also strengthen my Immunization activity to achieve the MDG.please inform some new introduced vaccine in Africa .
    thank you
    from ETHIOPIA AA University Field Epidemiology residenc.y

    Thes programs are available and the job needs to be done. It appeas that American nuraes do not seem to have an opportunity to be exposed to this sector. We have interest in comabatting the epidemic situations in the developing world too. We ars just as educated and ready to help. Need information on the criteria for applying and wish to work overseas. Please email information on hiring process. Thank you

    Want to participate in the immunization program in Africa. Please send info or critieria to the above email

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Page last reviewed: May 11, 2021
Page last updated: May 11, 2021
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