European Immunization Week – celebrating the progress and potential of vaccines
WHO and UNICEF in Bulgaria join forces to inform and advocate for positive attitudes towards the historic importance of immunization
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Sofia, 26 April 2022 - Between 24 and 30 April we mark the European Immunization Week (EIW) - an opportune moment to reflect on the importance of vaccination as one of the foundations of a functioning public health system. This year the Week highlights the historic achievements of vaccination, including progress towards global eradication of polio and regional elimination of measles and rubella as well as the potential to achieve even more, such as control of hepatitis B and elimination of cervical cancer. The hundreds of thousands of lives saved through COVID-19 vaccination in the WHO European Region alone are also great cause for celebration.
EIW is also an opportunity to thank all of the health workers who have worked tirelessly to protect others by making vaccination possible. This effort will not end until everyone eligible for vaccination is fully protected, especially older adults and other people with chronic diseases, who are most vulnerable to severe disease yet not yet vaccinated.
UNICEF and WHO Offices will continue to provide needed support to Government of Bulgaria in strengthening further immunization system in the country.
We have developed a joint innovation (chatbot and mobile application) which are user-friendly and free-of-charge and provide health information on immunizations, COVID-19 prevention, mental health. Over 15 thousand Bulgarians are using it already. Please find it here: https://healthbuddy.plus/index
We have also developed a dedicated webpage in Bulgarian to promote the importance of immunization, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and to debunk some of the most pervasive myths, stepping on the expertise of world experts and undoubted scientific proof. Please find it here: https://uni.cf/3K1Nt9l
Also, in the Immunization week, please follow the social media channels of UNICEF Bulgaria (https://www.facebook.com/UNICEFBulgaria) and WHO Country Office (https://www.facebook.com/whobul) where you will find data, stories and inspiration about the historic importance of mass immunization. Here are some of the facts:
- Across the centuries and all around the world, people from every background have found ways to protect their children against illness. Vaccines represent our love for the next generation – our desire to protect them through innovation, dedication, and care, in order to achieve a #LongLifeForAll.
- All that hard work has paid off. In the past two decades, more than 1.1 billion children have been immunized; saving 4-5 million lives each year. There are now safe and effective vaccines for more than 25 diseases. In fact, in the 220 years since their creation, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical innovation in history. That’s a profound achievement.
- The good news is, more than 80% of children in the world receive life-saving vaccines, but there are still some 23 million children missing out, most of them living in conflict zones, remote areas, and informal urban settings.
- If the remarkable history of vaccines proves anything, it’s that we can reach these children. We know, that through better funding and improved policies, specifically, for accessible, affordable primary health care, we can ensure that every child, no matter who they are or where they are, gets vaccinated.
- Vaccines represent the very best of the human spirit. The product of hundreds of caring people, over hundreds of years, dedicating their lives to the next generation. We call on governments and decision-makers everywhere to prioritize vaccination for all children and invest in the health systems we need to support a #LongLifeForAll.
The progress we have made as a country and a Region in protecting children and adults from life-threatening diseases deserves celebration and must not be taken for granted. Maintaining this progress is a collective effort so that no one be left behind.