World Immunisation Week, celebrated in the last week of April, aims to highlight the collective action needed and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
The ultimate goal of World Immunisation Week is for more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
During World Immunisation Week the Public Health Agency (PHA) are reminding everyone that getting vaccinated is the single most important thing we can do to protect our health.
Vaccination starts before birth with pregnant women being offered vaccines to protect them and their unborn babies and continues after the baby is born though their pre-school years, teenage years and then as an older adult.
Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of protecting against serious diseases. Many childhood diseases that were common in the UK prior to the introduction of vaccination have been dramatically reduced or have disappeared altogether. However, once a disease fades from prominence, it is easy to forget how serious they could be. Unfortunately, unless vaccine uptake remains high in Northern Ireland, many deadly diseases will return from parts of the world where they still occur.
It is only when people continue to get their children and themselves vaccinated in large numbers that we can prevent these diseases, and the possible deaths, so it is vitally important that we don’t take our health and that of our children for granted. Not only that, but getting children vaccinated also helps protect those who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination, such as tiny babies.