Apr 27

World Immunization Week (April 24-30, 2021)

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World Immunization Week is observed globally from 24th to 30th in April. The purpose behind celebrating this week is to raise awareness about and increase Immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases. The significance of this week is to highlight the importance of Immunization in saving lives and encourage families to vaccinate against deadly diseases. With the help of Immunization, millions of lives can be saved and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful health inventions.

This year the theme for world immunization week is ‘Vaccines bring us closer,’ this is a clear message which urges greater engagement around Immunization globally to promote the importance of vaccination and help to bring people closer especially to improve their health and wellbeing. For more than  200 years, vaccines have protected us against different diseases that threaten lives and prohibit our development. With the help of vaccines, we can protect ourselves from the burden of various diseases.

Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic and the race for vaccines and treatments brought the topic of Immunization into the living rooms of citizens across the world. The COVID-19 vaccinations campaign is found to be the largest global vaccination effort ever executed. Forms of vaccination have been around for centuries and are estimated to prevent 2-3 million deaths each year. However, until COVID-19 struck, they were never on the public conscious as much as they are today.  Whether it’s TV, radio, newspapers, or online, you cannot avoid the topic of vaccines, and it’s fair to say that the general public has never been so interested in and aware of clinical trials, supply, and efficacy. With increased vaccine confidence and new technologies emerging all the time, this World Immunization Week, we are at the dawn of a new era for vaccine development.

All about  Immunization

Infectious disease has always been a major cause of human illness and death; therefore, to combat them, Immunization is significant. It’s a process through which a person gets resistant to an infectious disease, mainly by administering the vaccine. Immunization has been found to be the most effective life-saving invention ever in the history of humankind. Vaccines stimulate the body’s immune system to protect the person against the disease or infection.

Immune system

The immune system is made up of billions of cells that are found in the bloodstream. They are present in tissues and organs, defending the body against antigens like bacteria, viruses, and cells that cause cancer. White blood cells are the main types of immune cells. These are of two types:

  • Lymphocytes
  • Phagocytes.

These cells helps people to  prevent from infections. Lymphocytes memorize the microbes that have entered the body and produce the substance against them. Phagocytes engulf and kill them. When a  foreign substance invades the body, called an antigen, several types of cells work together to recognize and respond to it. These cells trigger the B lymphocytes to produce antibodies. These antibodies continue to exist in a person’s body. If the same antigen invades again in the body, they are presented to the immune system, the antibodies formed against them perform their tasks. Antibodies need help to destroy the antigens provided by specific T-cells, also called “killer cells.” The T-cells destroy the antigens that are tagged by antibodies. T-cells are also involved in giving signals to other cells of the immune system to do their jobs. Antibodies also neutralize toxic substances which are produced by different organisms.

Types of Immunization

Immunization can be achieved in an active or passive manner.

  • Active Immunization:

When a person becomes immune to an infectious disease by coming in contact with the microbe, this is stated as active Immunization. The immune system then creates antibodies and other defenses against the microbe. Vaccination is an active form of Immunization. Vaccines stimulate the body’s immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease.

  • Passive Immunization:

Passive Immunity is acquired by obtaining the preformed antibodies from other individuals.

This method of Immunization works very quickly, but it is short-lasting. Immunization is a very useful tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases. It is estimated that it prevents 2-3 million deaths each year—the strategy against life-threatening condition involves control, elimination, and eradication.

During this time, WHO encourages the uptake of vaccines and highlights the need to improve equitable access to immunizations worldwide. Certain efforts are put up every year to raise awareness about this very important issue. Different programs, social media ads, brochures, posters, web banners, and other information are made.

On behalf of NAYS Pakistan,  We embrace World Immunization Week and will do our part to spread information about the importance of vaccinations. Thanks to the improvements in Immunization, the world has seen the number of deaths due to infectious diseases go down drastically. Investment and new research enable groundbreaking approaches to vaccine development, which are changing the science of Immunization forever and bringing us closer still to a healthier future.

Article: Ms. Sundeela Fayyaz

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