Dr Solomon Chollom
The World Immunisation Week 2021 celebration kicks off today, April 24th to end April 30th, 2021 with the theme "Vaccines Bring Us Closer”.
The World Immunisation Week is a period particularly set aside by key stakeholders in vaccine research, production, administration and marketing to review progress and challenges that border on vaccine and vaccination and immunisation with the aim of increasing vaccine access through advocacy.
Since the first grand effort on the first vaccine by Edward Jenner in 1796 when he inoculated a 13 year old boy with vaccinia virus with demonstrable immunity against smallpox, issues around immunisation have continued to grow from vaccine safety, vaccine availability and vaccine uptake with barriers to vaccine uptake and vaccine development gaining prominent places in the global vaccine discuss
Till date, vaccines have played significant roles in rolling back vaccine-preventable diseases especially in children thus overwhelmingly reducing child morbidity and mortality across the globe
This year’s celebration of World Immunisation Week focuses on the Covid-19 pandemic and how safety protocols like quarantine, isolation, social distancing and lockdown have kept us apart. To restore and resume normal life and living, safe and effective vaccines must be introduced to bring us closer to one another since vaccines protect us and eradicate diseases.
Eradication of the pandemic through immunisation is achievable. Our memory is fresh on how vaccines played key roles in rolling back pandemics like bubonic plague, influenza, small pox and most recently, polio, to mention a few.
It is therefore important that stakeholders look deeper and objectively at the feedbacks that vaccine introduction and administration has generated, especially with the covid-19 vaccine. Every concern raised must be scientifically investigated and where evidence emerge in favour of the concerns, be they of safety, efficacy, availability or otherwise, stakeholders must meticulously address them as public perception and confidence on vaccines t hangs on a delicate balance today.
It is expedient that the processes of vaccine development, including clinical trials and outcomes be made more transparent. Vaccine trials must cut across all people, population groups and climes in order to carry end users along and reduce the rising challenges of vaccine hesitancy across board
There is need for effective and strategic communication to precede the introduction of new vaccines to keep the public enlightened on the need for the vaccines. Such communications must be based on verifiable data that address safety and efficacy to scale down on the possibility of negative build up against the vaccine introduction.
Health professionals must be ahead of the times in research and development to ensure the world does not get caught in another round of pandemics that cripple economies and disrupt human activities