In the late 1940s to the early 1950s, polio outbreaks in the United States increased in frequency and size; polio disabled an average of more than 35,000 people in the United States each year. It was one of the most feared diseases of the twentieth century. Thanks to effectiveness of the vaccine, the United States has been polio-free since 1979.
This is World Immunization Week.
The World Health Organization aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
This will be the second year of the Close the Immunization Gap campaign, which celebrates the enormous successes to date in reaching children all over the world with life-saving vaccines. The campaign seeks to draw the world’s attention to the critical importance of reaching vulnerable people living in conflict situations. The 2016 campaign additionally stresses the need for immunization among adolescents and adults - throughout life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “immunization prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year. Without vaccines, global eradication of smallpox and elimination of polio and measles from large parts of the world would have been impossible.” The CDC urges people around the world to find out what vaccines they should have, check their vaccination status, and get the vaccines they need.