Video credit: World Health Organization
Immunizations save lives not just each year but for generations to come. Diseases like small pox and polio have been nearly eradicated in no small part because of aggressive vaccination programs that tackle diphtheria, tetanus, measles, meningitis, influenza, whooping cough, and typhoid. We know what these diseases can do. They cause death disability, and unimaginable grief that ripples though communities. The most vulnerable among us are the children, particularly those in conflict or disaster areas where access to health care and interventions, such as vaccines, is compromised by violence and displacement. And there are those, too, that are difficult to reach, especially the rural poor of developing countries.
Stopping diseases in their tracks is the combined effort of various stakeholders, both groups and individuals, on the front lines of of this public health battle. Nations, health care workers, policymakers, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical research community, NGOs, and civil society all play a role in building and strengthening health care infrastructures that support immunizations and prevent the outbreak of diseases from happening.
Immunizations have been touted as the single most important public health achievement of the last century. The crippling and devastating effects of polio and smallpox are something our grandparents and great-grandparents knew. We have at our disposal, today, what could only be hoped for a century ago. Vaccinations prevent diseases and save lives. Let us do our part to keep the message going forward.