World Immunization Week 2022: Know Its Significance & What The Theme ‘Long Life For All’ Means

World Immunization Week 2022: Know Its Significance & What The Theme 'Long Life For All' Means


New Delhi: World Immunization Week is celebrated worldwide in the last week of April, to highlight the collective action required and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all age groups against disease. 

This year, the theme for World Immunization Week is “Long Life for All”.

World Immunization Week: History

In May 2012, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, endorsed World Immunization Week. Before 2012, Immunization Week activities were observed on different dates in different regions of the world. The world’s first “World Immunization Week” was observed in 2012, which witnessed the simultaneous participation of more than 180 countries and territories worldwide.

The basis for vaccination began in the year 1796. English doctor Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had contracted cowpox were protected from smallpox, and also knew about variolation, which was one of the first methods for controlling smallpox. Named after variola virus, the causative organism of smallpox, variolation was a process during which people who had never contracted smallpox were exposed to material from smallpox sores called pustules by scratching the materia into their arm or inhaling it through the nose. Fewer people died as a result of variolation, compared to the number of deaths that would have occurred if smallpox was acquired naturally.

Jenner guessed that exposure to cowpox could be used to provide protection against smallpox. He tested his theory on James Phipps, the nine-year-old son of his gardener. 

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Jenner inoculated material from a cowpox sore into the arm of Phipps, and exposed him several times to the variola virus. Surprisingly, Phipps never developed smallpox. 

After conducting more experiments, Jenner published his treatise “On the Origin of the Vaccine Inoculation”, in 1801, in which he summarised his discoveries and expressed hope that the “annihilation of the smallpox, the most dreadful scourge of the human species, must be the final result of this practice.”

Vaccine was gradually accepted, and replaced the practice of variolation. In the 1800s, the virus used to make smallpox vaccines changed from cowpox to vaccinia virus. 

The Kingdom of Bavaria was one of the first countries to introduce compulsory vaccination according to Jenner’s method.

For his contribution to Immunisation, Jenner is also known as the “father of immunology”. 

World Immunization Week: Significance

World Immunization Week highlights the importance of vaccines and how immunisation helps protect people from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Every year, during World Immunization Week, the World Health Organization (WHO) works with countries across the globe to raise awareness of the value of vaccines and immunisation and ensures that governments obtain the necessary guidance and technical support to implement high-quality Immunisation programmes, the UN health agency said on its website. 

Protecting more people and more communities from vaccine-preventable diseases is the ultimate goal of World Immunization Week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has joined its partners to honour the public and community health workers for their tireless efforts to advance the goal of a “Long Life for All”. The CDC engages globally to support the development and implementation of vaccination strategies and programmes which can prevent more than 25 vaccine-preventable diseases, and which can build capacity to detect, mitigate, and respond to pandemic threats.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has joined its partners to honour the public and community health workers for their tireless efforts to advance the goal of a “Long Life for All”. | Credit: CDC

Vaccines provide everyone a chance at a fulfilling life, and have helped keep people healthy for more than two centuries, be it the very first vaccine developed to protect against smallpox to the newest vaccine used to prevent severe cases of Covid-19.

Every year, in the last week of April, World Immunization Week brings together people from around the world to highlight the importance of vaccines, and gives them the opportunity to live a healthy life.

World Immunization Week 2022: Theme

The theme for World Immunization Week 2022 is “Long Life for All”, which aims to unify people around the idea that vaccines make it possible for everyone to follow their dreams, to protect their loved ones, and to live a long, healthy life, according to worldimmunizationweek.org.

The campaign for World Immunization Week 2022 comes at a critical time as the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted essential health services, including routine immunisation. Millions of people still do not have access to vaccines, making it extremely important to reach out to those people. 

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has started a campaign called “Vaccines for all”, in order to reach every community, and every place with life-saving vaccines. The UN asserts that no child should die from preventable diseases and that the organisation will not stop until that is a reality.

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The WHO, along with several partners, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support World Immunization Week.

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