World Immunization Week

20-30 APRIL 2013 | WORLDWIDE

WIW 2013

Theme: Protect your world, get vaccinated

Hosting organization: World Health Organization (WHO)

1 MAY 2013 — Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between two and three million deaths every year. Immunization protects against diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.

The benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended from children to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis, and cancers (cervical and liver cancers). However, even now, around 22 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines and more than 1.5 million children under five die from diseases that could be prevented by existing vaccines. Immunization is therefore of crucial importance to improving maternal and child health outcomes.

World Immunization Week, kicked off by the World Health Organization on 20 April, was an opportunity to highlight one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect, or “immunize,” people of all ages against disease.

Under the global slogan "Protect your world – get vaccinated", WHO encouraged individuals and organizations working at international, regional, national, and community levels, in the public and private sectors, to coordinate and engage in activities during World Immunization Week. Activities included vaccination campaigns, training workshops, round-table discussions, public information campaigns, and more.

Immunization Week initiatives began in the WHO Region of the Americas in 2003. The Week was observed simultaneously in the World Health Organization’s six regions for the first time in 2012, with the participation of more than 180 countries, territories and areas worldwide. The World Health Assembly endorsed World Immunization Week during its May 2012 meeting, alongside the Global Vaccine Action Plan.