World Immunization Week (WIW) was commemorated in Pakistan under the theme of “Vaccines bring us closer” on 26th April, 2021. WIW is celebrated each year from 24th to 30th April with the purpose of promoting immunization, especially in countries such as Pakistan.
In Pakistan the event was organized by Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and the Federal EPI in Islamabad and it was attended by representatives of different health departments and organizations including WHO, UNICEF, Director General Health and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health.
Dr. Akram Shah, National Program Manager, Federal EPI during his opening remarks said that: “This year’s theme Vaccine bring us closer urges greater engagement around immunization globally to promote the role of vaccines in bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere.”
It should be remembered that each year thousands of Pakistanis, especially infants die due to lack of vaccination. According to Dr. Rana Muhammad Safdar, Director General Health, 17% of childhood mortality in Pakistan can be averted through vaccination.
This is why routine childhood immunization, which are given from birth to the age of 15 months are provided completely free in Pakistan through government EPI along with support from global partners such as WHO, UNICEF & GAVI.
This routine childhood immunization include vaccination against:
- polio (OPV & IPV)
- haemophilus influenza type B
- hepatitis B
Dr. Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, WHO Representative in Pakistan, said that “On the eve of World Immunization Week, I would like to stress that Immunization will help Pakistani children to grow into healthy adults. Vaccinated, healthy children can attend school and reap the benefits of education, and their parents are able to participate in the workforce, putting communities on the path to greater economic prosperity.”