April 24 to 30 is World Immunization Week, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). During this week in April, WHO and its partners shed light on the importance of immunization around the world. This year’s theme is “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork.”
For instance, did you know that immunization prevents a wide variety of illnesses, disability, and death from cervical cancer to hepatitis B to
Although immunization helps to prevent about 2 to 3 million deaths each year, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination improved, WHO adds.
The quest for more vaccinations is especially critical in infants—about 19.5 million infants still miss out on basic vaccines, according to WHO.
Although the WHO has a Global Vaccine Action Plan, which it describes as a roadmap to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 by increasing vaccine access, it says that its plan is not yet meeting its targets.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a chart that shows recommended vaccines by age group. For instance, recommendations for a person over age 50 include:
- a flu shot
- Tdap or Td, short for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (booster every 10 years)
- pneumococcal (may be recommended
insomeone over age 50, but there is a stronger recommendation by age 65)
- chickenpox (if not done while you were a child)
Other vaccinations that may be recommended include meningococcal, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis, B, and Haemophilus
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