Vaccines aim is to protect people of all ages against all kinds of diseases. The process of immunization helps saves millions of people’s lives and is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most fortunate and cost-effective health interventions. Today, there are still 19.7 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world.
World Immunization Day is celebrated every year on November 10 worldwide. World Immunization Day is celebrated to make every people aware of the importance of getting timely vaccines against preventable diseases. Immunization is the process where a person is immune or resistant to an infectious disease, by the administration of a vaccine.
Immunization helps protect the child from life-threatening diseases. It also helps in reducing the spread of disease from one to another. Vaccines stimulate the body’s own immune system to protect the individual against subsequent infection or disease. Children are born with some natural immunity that they get from their mothers through breastfeeding. This immunity gradually diminishes as the children’s own immune system starts to develop. The antibodies received from mothers do not last long. Moreover, immunization gives extra protection against most deadly diseases.
Immunization is one of the vaccinations and the most cost-effective health investments that do not require any major change. According to WHO, Immunization is a tested tool for eliminating and controlling life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to save 2 to 3 million deaths each year but an estimated 19.7 million children worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.
In March 2014, India and the entire South-East Asia Region was officially declared as being polio-free. This was a huge breakthrough in the fight to eradicate polio globally. Though, India is a disease-free country currently. But, the cases of Vaccine Derived Polio Virus disease can be seen. India is not openly free from polio until it beats the vaccine-derived virus.
Universal Immunization Program is India’s largest public health program in the world in terms of vaccines used, the quantities of the number of beneficiaries covered, geographical spread, and human resources involved. UIP has been able to immunize only 66% of children in the first year of their life and the increase in coverage has stagnated.
To achieve full immunization for all children, the Government of India launched Mission Indradhanush in December 2014. The goal of this program is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to 2 years and for pregnant women. The second round of Mission Indradhanush was launched Mission Indradhanush 2.0 at Uttar Pradesh in January 2020. Their aim is to achieve 90 percent vaccination coverage among children below the age of 2 years.
Polio is not yet gone. It is prevailing unnoticed in the environment. It’s time for India to rewire its action plans to fight back against polio. Still, a long way to go.