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World Immunisation Week: let’s stay protected, together

24/04/19
 
This week marks World Immunisation Week, an important opportunity to celebrate one of our greatest medical breakthroughs1 and look towards the innovations that could transform millions of lives in the future.

Vaccines prevent between 2-3 million deaths worldwide every year,2 helping to set our children up for a healthy start and continuing to protect us through adulthood and into older life.

We’re lucky to live in a country that has a world-leading vaccination programme which has helped to substantially reduce the harm caused by many infectious diseases3 and it can be easy to forget the fear and devastation that our parents and grandparents once experienced.

For example, we no longer need to worry about life-threatening diseases such as polio, eradicated from the UK, with the number of cases reduced from over 7,000 in 1950 to zero in 2017.4,5

However, it’s critical that we don’t become complacent. High rates of immunisation are vital if the UK population is to remain protected against the risk of serious vaccine-preventable diseases.6

Both the NHS Long Term Plan and the 5-year Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Action Plan recognise prevention as crucial to improving the health of the nation and reducing the risk of life-changing infections and diseases.7,8 But responsibility should not stop at our health and care services.

It's critical that we educate ourselves, and others, about the value of vaccination."

We all have a part to play

Pharmaceutical companies, policy makers and healthcare organisations must work together to ensure we have a framework which paves the way for the ground-breaking vaccines of tomorrow and helps to support our health and social care services today.

All of us have a responsibility to take care of our own health and wellbeing and it’s critical that we educate ourselves, and others, about the value of vaccination and tackle vaccine hesitancy using evidence-based, robust health advice. We must also ensure that we stay up to date with all the recommended vaccines to protect ourselves and those around us.

 

Our commitment to the vaccine heroes of the future  

Pfizer has a strong heritage in the research and development of new vaccines, playing a pivotal role in tackling deadly infectious diseases like smallpox and polio globally.

Today, we continue to invest in ground-breaking research with scientists working worldwide to find novel vaccines that will protect against some of the most challenging and devastating diseases and infections of our time.

We’re also proud to play a key part in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, a challenge in which vaccines play a significant role. If we can prevent infections by increasing our use of vaccines and only using antibiotics when absolutely necessary, we can ensure that antibiotics are available for many years to come.9

 

Protected together, #VaccinesWork

World Immunisation Week calls for us all, regardless of age, occupation or gender, to educate ourselves about vaccination and encourage others to do the same; from GPs to government officials, and researchers to the general public, let’s join together across the UK, and the world, to ensure we continue to be protected together through vaccination.10

 

 

Darius Hughes
Vaccines Lead
Pfizer UK

 

 

Related articles:

 

Antibiotics are medicines that work to treat or prevent bacterial infections, but many are losing their effectiveness due to antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

 

Ben Osborn, Managing Director, Pfizer UK, discusses our shared ambition with the NHS to deliver a radical upgrade in prevention and public health.

 

References

  1. Vaccines: A global health success story that keeps us on our toes [Last accessed April 2019]
  2. 10 Facts on Immunization [Last accessed April 2019]
  3. Causes of death over 100 years [Last accessed April 2019]
  4. Department of Health and Social Care, Prevention is better than a cure. [Last accessed April 2019]
  5. National Archive, Acute Poliomyelitis: Annual Corrected Notifications & Deaths, England & Wales 1912-2007 [Last accessed April 2019]
  6. Vaccines Today, What is herd immunity? [Last accessed April 2019]
  7. NHS Long Term Plan [Last acccessed April 2019]
  8. Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance 2019-2024. [Last accessed April 2019]
  9. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance [Last accessed April 2019]
  10. World Health Organisation, World Immunization Week 2019 [Last accessed April 2019]

 

PP-PFE-GBR-1703 / April 2019