Every year World ImmunizationWeek (WIW) is observed globally from 24 to 30 April. Inobservance of the week in 2022, today UNICEF along with theMinistry of Health and Family
Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India held an interactiveengagement session with health journalists to reinforce mediasupport toward increased uptake of Routine Immunization ofchildren.
The theme for this year’s immunization week is ’long life for all,’(#longlifeforall) with ‘long life’ reflecting the importance ofvaccinations for a long and healthy life and the importance ofvaccine equity.
India annually targets approximately 2.9 crore pregnant womenand 2.7 crore children for vaccination
through the Universal Immunization Programme. As per latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 data, Full ImmunizationCoverage (FIC) among children aged 12-23 months has recordedsubstantial improvement from 62 per cent to 76 per cent at all-India level.
Dr Veena Dhawan, Additional Commissioner (Immunization),MoHFW, provided an update on the Universal Immunization programme and the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0 launched in early 2022 to accelerate the vaccination coverage ofchildren and pregnant women in targeted districts and blocks.
Highlighting the role of media as a crucial partner to create awareness on importance of every dose of vaccines to be taken by each child, she informed that IMI 4.0 focuses on identifying and vaccinating these vulnerable groups of children, who have missedout of any dose or who have dropped out on some doses.
The theme of the World Immunization Week this year celebratesthe long history of vaccination (generating confidence though 'social proof'), in a tone of gratitude, care, and love.
The World Immunization Week also celebrates the extraordinarywork of numerous people who have
contributed to the creation, development and administeringvaccines for the last 300 years. A ‘Love Letter’ thanking the stakeholders will be shared with supporters to write their own thank-you notes for all those who made vaccination possible. A Hero Video which takes the viewer through the epic journey ofvaccination across continents and though centuries will be released.
Ms. Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Advocacy, Communication andPartnership, UNICEF India said, “Covid -19 vaccination hasdemonstrated the importance of vaccination in preventing seriousdisease. The
#largestvaccinesdrive of COVID vaccination has shown us the immense power of vaccines and vaccinators. In the same way, we must now make strides on lifesaving routine immunization for all children, especially those who have not been reached, left out or dropped out. Vaccines work! Vaccines protect children frompreventable diseases giving them the gift of a healthy, active lifeand helps them reach their full potential.”
“As we hope to emerge from the pandemic, this WIW brings us an opportunity to renew our commitment to create a fresh momentumto raise awareness and action on the importance of completingvaccination for all children and for greater investment in the health systems,” she added, “The media and key stakeholders have a critical role in creating the momentum.”
Commending India’s commitment to accelerate immunization coverage and achieve full immunization coverage for every child,Dr Vivek Virendra Singh, Health Specialist, Officer In-Charge,Health, UNICEF India, interacted with over 70 national and state media who had joined the discussion online. “The WIW 2022provides us an opportunity to remind everyone on India’s success in the recent COVID -19 vaccination and earlier Polio eradication,through robust health systems driven immunization campaigns.WIW reiterates
the need for Routine Immunization, and the collective actionneeded to reach every child everywhere with all necessaryvaccines,” he said.