As part of World Immunization Week (WIW), which is observed globally from 24 to 30 April, UNICEF along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the Government of India held a meeting to increase uptake of Routine Immunization of children.
The theme for this year’s immunization week is ’long life for all,’ (#longlifeforall) with ‘long life’ reflecting the importance of vaccinations for a long and healthy life and the importance of vaccine equity.
India annually targets approximately 2.9 crore pregnant women and 2.7 crore children for vaccination through the Universal Immunization Programme.
As per latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 data, Full Immunization Coverage (FIC) among children aged 12-23 months has recorded substantial improvement from 62 per cent to 76 per cent at all-India level.
Dr Veena Dhawan, Additional Commissioner (Immunization), MoHFW, provided an update on the Universal Immunization programme and the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0 launched in early 2022 to accelerate the vaccination coverage of children and pregnant women in targeted districts and blocks.
She informed that IMI 4.0 focuses on identifying and vaccinating these vulnerable groups of children, who have missed out of any dose or who have dropped out on some doses.
The theme of the World Immunization Week this year celebrates the long history of vaccination (generating confidence though ‘social proof’), in a tone of gratitude, care, and love.
Ms. Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Advocacy, Communication and Partnership, UNICEF India said, “Covid -19 vaccination has demonstrated the importance of vaccination in preventing serious disease. The #largestvaccinesdrive of COVID vaccination has shown us the immense power of vaccines and vaccinators. In the same way, we must now make strides on lifesaving routine immunization for all children, especially those who have not been reached, left out or dropped out. Vaccines work! Vaccines protect children from preventable diseases giving them the gift of a healthy, active life and helps them reach their full potential.”
“As we hope to emerge from the pandemic, this WIW brings us an opportunity to renew our commitment to create a fresh momentum to raise awareness and action on the importance of completing vaccination for all children and for greater investment in the health systems,” she added, “The media and key stakeholders have a critical role in creating the momentum.”
Commending India’s commitment to accelerate immunization coverage and achieve full immunization coverage for every child, Dr Vivek Virendra Singh, Health Specialist, Officer In-Charge, Health, UNICEF India said, “The WIW 2022 provides us an opportunity to remind everyone on India’s success in the recent COVID -19 vaccination and earlier polio eradication, through robust health systems driven immunization campaigns.”
“WIW reiterates the need for Routine Immunization, and the collective action needed to reach every child everywhere with all necessary vaccines,” he said.