It’s World Immunisation Week… and we all need to do our bit to save kids’ lives.
As we’re seeing every day throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, without the protection of vaccines, diseases can spread quickly and with serious — and fatal — consequences.
Right now researchers are desperately trying to find a vaccine for COVID-19, with two groups at the front of the development process. If and when they’re successful, the COVID-19 vaccine is in the running to be the fastest developed vaccine in history.
It’s crucial to keep our children up to date with all other available vaccinations. This week is World Immunisation Week, which promotes the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease, and this year that message needs to be heard even more than ever.
Yet a scary side effect of COVID-19 is a drop in child immunisation rates for other diseases.
Globally, COVID-19 is having an effect on children’s immunisation rates.
More than 117 million are at risk of preventable childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough, as many countries pause immunisation programs during the pandemic. In some nations the number of parents taking their children for vaccinations is decreasing, due to fear of catching the virus.
Heartbreaking figures from Pakistan indicate an increasing trend of measles and diphtheria cases due to constrained access to health services. While measles immunisation programs have been delayed in Vietnam and the Philippines, and polio is still a concern due to pockets of unimmunised children in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines and Timor Leste.
Closer to home, UNICEF Australia is urging parents to continue their child’s immunisation program through the pandemic, advising that if you still have access to immunisations, you should take the opportunity to get them for your child (while also following national and local guidance on COVID-19 protective measures, of course).
The Department of Health also advises it is essential that Australian children continue to receive immunisations during this time in order to prevent outbreaks of those preventable childhood diseases.
It’s crucial that we’re protecting our future and the future of our children by getting their vaccinations up to date as we go through this global pandemic together.
This World Immunisation Week — and every week — children’s health is of utmost importance.