African Vaccination Week / World Immunization Week

The week of 24th to 30th April, aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against diseases that can be prevented through vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that immunization campaigns have put an end to smallpox; almost defeating polio and has ensured more children live more than ever before. Those clinic and doctor visits with babies create a big opportunity for our children to live free of disease.

In the last 50 years, we went from a world where a death of a child was a high possibility to death no-longer being feared because vaccines or immunization have given children a chance to live and thrive.

It has been important for countries to make big efforts to invest in immunization programmes to prevent such diseases in future generations and for parents to ensure that children take up all necessary immunizations during their life course. …The guidelines for the full course of immunizations and vaccines a child needs at different ages are provided in the road to health card.

Vaccines also provided to young people and adults provide the same protection. For example, a young person who takes an HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine reduces their chances of contracting cervical cancer and thus long -term disease. Girls from the ages 9 – 14 are encouraged to take the HPV vaccine. For those who are older and are sexually active, there are higher chances of experiencing symptoms of HPV, amongst other STIs. While the immune system can remove those symptoms, with high-risk HPV, abnormal cells can develop causing the chances of cervical cancer to increase.

The other example is the Influenza (flu) vaccine, without which, 90% of children under 5 years die yearly. The flu vaccine is one of the only ways to prevent outcomes caused by the influenza virus, like flu.

Measles – this is highly contagious and airborne (transported by the air) and is caused by a virus that can lead to serious complications or even death. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose and rash all over the body. It is common in children and very few cases in older people. The vaccine is safe and helps your body fight off the virus.

These are just some examples of important immunizations and vaccines that can help prevent diseases and save lives. All of these can be found in public clinics and hospitals as well as private facilities.

In light of vaccination week, let’s all make sure that we are in-line with immunizations as well as necessary vaccines, by going to our nearest clinic or doctor, to find out what vaccines we should be taking at our respective ages. Take your flu shot this year, before winter kicks in.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me on Facebook Message,  Instagram message Twitter DM, or WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657)