Recognizing World Immunization Week

Published 1:39 pm Monday, April 23, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) support World and National Infant Immunization Week, which will be celebrated April 21-28.

This year’s theme is “Protected Together, #Vaccineswork.”

Both organizations want to highlight the importance of protecting individuals from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrating the achievements of immunization programs in protecting healthy communities. Some interesting statistics:

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There has been an 84 percent drop in measles deaths between years 2000 and 2016.

Polio cases have decreased by 99 percent since 1988. Only three countries in the world (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) continue to have endemic polio cases.

Immunizations are a cost-effective health intervention that prevent 2 to 3 million deaths every year.

More children are being immunized worldwide than ever before, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to eradicating deadly diseases.

New vaccines continue to be developed against dengue fever and malaria.

In the U.S., many people have thankfully forgotten what it is like to know someone affected by polio or measles.

In 2016, WHO’s Region of the Americas became the first in the world to have eliminated measles because of a 22-year effort involving mass vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.

Vaccines are also serving as a frontline defense against antimicrobial resistance by reducing infections and the need for over-prescribing antibiotics.

In Kentucky, new immunization requirements are going into effect July 1. All students in kindergarten through 12th grade will be required to have two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine.

Acute Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and/or death in the most severe cases. The Louisville area has been experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak for the past several months.

In addition, all Kentucky students age 16 and older will be required to have two doses of Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to attend school. If the first dose is given at 16 or older, one dose will be accepted.  This vaccine helps prevent an often deadly form of meningitis.

Clark County Health Department provides all of these vaccines for un-insured or under-insured children and children with Medicaid up through age 19.

Call the department at 744-4482 with any specific questions about immunizations or just immunizations in general.

Join us as we celebrate life-saving immunization programs and look forward to a world without any of these preventable diseases.

Column by Jennifer Burchett, RN and BSN, at Clark County Health Department. Information taken from,