World Immunization Week Hopes to Accelerate Action

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World Immunization Week is April 24-30. This year’s theme is Closing the Immunization Gap. Vaccinations, for all the scrutiny it gets in the U.S., save the lives of children. Around the globe, vaccinations that American parents take for granted aren’t readily available. World Immunization Week signals a renewed global, regional, and national effort to accelerate action and increase awareness and demand for immunization by communities, and improve vaccination delivery services.

Easy access to a doctor is not something all communities and families have, thus many babies do not have access to the vaccinations that can prevent diseases that can kill young children, even polio which in the United States is mostly eradicated. When I hear of communities and children in other parts of the world who are dying because of these diseases (which is rare unless it’s on a dedicated news segment or sad infomercial requesting donations), it is a reminder to appreciate the miracles of modern medicine that I and my family have such easy access.  

This year when measles saw a resurgence, vaccinations started to get attention again. Parents took stances on their right to choose what they think is best for their children when it comes to vaccinations. I’m a total believer in parental rights to chosoe (in any right to choose really), but when it anti-vaxxers choices threaten the life of others in the community, I’m less open-minded to “do-what-you-want” mentality. That said, I vaccinated my child on the traditional schedule. As I was reading about World Vaccination Week, I stumbled on this article that lays out myths and facts on vaccines. Food for thought if you are pondering whether to vaccinate your baby. I also think that it’s important that parents know there are options to the usual vaccination schedule. An alternate vaccination schedule that doesn’t put a baby getting a bundle of vaccines at a time can be arranged. 

Choices are good to have, but this week, I’m going to take a minute and simply be grateful for the availability of good health care in my community. It could be a lot worse.