22 April 2019

Cameroon: Vaccines - UNICEF Launches Campaign for Greater Use

It is to assure social media users and parents of the efficacy and safety of immunisation.

The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, will on April 24, 2019 launch a campaign to promote the efficacy and safety of vaccines with parents and social media users as main targets. It is part of the global week-long World Immunisation Week celebration on the theme, "Protected together: Vaccines work." The campaign running from April 24-30, 2019 is meant to spread the message that together, we can protect everyone through vaccines.

According to studies, vaccines save up to 3 million lives yearly, protecting children from potentially deadly and highly infectious diseases such as measles, pneumonia, cholera, and diphtheria. Thanks to vaccines, fewer people died from measles between 2000 and 2017, and polio is on the verge of eradication, UNICEF said. Moreover, vaccines are one of the most cost-effective health tools ever invented. Each US dollar (583 FCFA) spent on childhood immunisation offers up to 44 US dollars (25,664 FCFA) in benefits. "The campaign is intended to show the world that social media is a powerful force for change and can provide parents with trustworthy information on vaccines," said Robin Nandy, UNICEF's Chief of Immunisation. Despite their benefits, an estimated 1.5 million children died of vaccine-preventable diseases in 2017. While this is often due to lack of access to vaccines, in some countries, families delay or refuse to vaccinate their children because of complacency or skepticism about vaccines.

This consequence has been several outbreaks, including an alarming surge in measles, especially in higher-income countries. Uncertainty on digital and social media platforms about vaccines is one of the factors driving this trend. World Immunisation Week is celebrated every year from April 24-30 to raise awareness on the benefits of immunisation. It is a key global campaign to re-focus attention on the importance of vaccinating children against disease. Between 2000 and 2017, UNICEF alongside governments and partners, vaccinated more than 2 billion children around the world.

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