Vaccines work, saving and improving lives

Immunization-Week
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World Immunization Week has become a regular feature in the calendar in recent years. The theme of this year’s event is “Vaccines work”.

 

Held in the last week of April, World Immunization Week will help raise public awareness of the importance of immunization in protecting people of all ages against disease and saving millions of lives. This year’s campaign focuses on the importance of people being fully immunized throughout their lifetime. Indeed, immunization will have a key part to play in achieving Goal 3 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which includes increasing life expectancy and reducing the impact of numerous killer diseases. This will largely depend on widespread vaccination.

The success of vaccines in protecting lives is beyond question. The theme of this year’s World Immunization Week says it clearly: “vaccines work.” Estimates currently credit immunization with saving at least 5 lives every minute. The list of vaccine-preventable diseases includes cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, tetanus and whooping cough.

 

Targets behind schedule

 

Nevertheless, there is cause for concern. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) drew up a Global Vaccine Action Plan, approved by 194 member states of the World Health Assembly in 2012. It set a series of targets for preventing millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable deaths by 2020. As of 2017, all the targets for disease elimination are behind schedule.

This is in part because numerous countries are experiencing a phenomenon of “vaccine hesitancy”. In some countries, there is a loss of public confidence in vaccine safety owing to scare stories over side effects; in others, skepticism may be due to a conflict with beliefs.

 

Understanding vaccines hesitancy

 

Sanofi understands that people may hesitate before agreeing to be vaccinated or to have their children vaccinated. We recognize that there is little point in constantly repeating figures on world health statistics. People will only be convinced that immunization is the right course of action when the factors leading to their own reticence are directly analyzed and understood, and their questions addressed.

Sanofi has studied what makes people hesitate over vaccination. Their views are often more emotional than rational. When they discuss their doubts over vaccination to healthcare professionals, they need to be carefully listened to and to have their specific questions answered.

 

 

 

World Immunization Week will strongly reinforce the message that vaccines work.

But, as David Loew, General Manager of Sanofi Pasteur, says: “Healthcare professionals, especially doctors, play an important role in establishing trust in vaccines.”

And Sanofi is committed to helping them sustain public confidence in vaccines.

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