Ranjan K Baruah
The common buzz around at present is vaccine. People are taking vaccines to protect from the pandemic. Initially vaccination started with the frontline workers and now people above the age of 45 are taking it. Soon individuals above the age of 18 will be able to take a vaccine against Covid for which they can register digitally at CoWIN platforms or Aarogya Setu App.
For over 200 years, vaccines have protected us against diseases that threaten lives and prohibit our development. With their help, we can progress without the burden of diseases like smallpox and polio, which cost humanity hundreds of millions of lives.
Immunization is a global health and development success story, saving millions of lives every year. Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds.
We are aware that vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases, before they come into contact with them. It uses the body's natural defenses to build resistance to specific infections and makes your immune system stronger. Vaccines train our immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease.
However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put us at risk of its complications.
Our immune systems are designed to remember. Once exposed to one or more doses of a vaccine, we typically remain protected against a disease for years, decades or even a lifetime. This is what makes vaccines so effective. Rather than treating a disease after it occurs, vaccines prevent us in the first instance from getting sick.
Most vaccines are given by an injection, but some are given orally (by mouth) or sprayed into the nose. Today there are vaccines available to protect against at least 20 diseases, such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles. Together, these vaccines save the lives of up to 3 million people every year.
With the theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, World Immunization Week 2021 (April 24th -30th) shall show how vaccination is important and best thing is that now it’s time for COVID-19 vaccine. World Immunization Week 2021 offers an unprecedented opportunity to build public trust in the value of all vaccines and help build long-term support for immunization.
World Immunization Week 2021 shall aim to reframe the global vaccine conversation to focus on the importance of vaccines, highlight the many ways in which vaccines enable us to live healthy, productive lives by preventing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and demonstrate social proof that the broader public already values and trust vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) works with countries across the globe to raise awareness of the value of vaccines and immunization and ensures that Governments obtain the necessary guidance and technical support to implement high quality immunization programmes.
The irony is that though we are more concerned about vaccination against corona we should not forget that immunization is a key component of primary health care and an indisputable human right. It’s also one of the best health investments money can buy. In spite of tremendous progress, far too many people around the world – including nearly 20 million infants each year – have insufficient access to vaccines.
Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19. Safe and effective vaccines will be a game changer but for the foreseeable future we must continue wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds. Together, we can end the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve a healthier world for all. India has manufactured two vaccines and this is the time that the country can lead in vaccination around the world. This year’s immunization week is an opportunity for all of us to raise more awareness when it comes to vaccination and more precisely vaccine against Covid.
(With direct input from WHO publication and feedback may be send to [email protected]