This year’s World Immunization Week is designed to convey the historical significance the development of vaccines has had on the world, and the importance of vaccines to a long and healthy life. For the past two decades, more than 1.1 billion children were immunized, saving 4-5 million lives each year and helping to reduce child deaths by half.
Vaccines for common diseases like measles, diarrheal diseases and pneumonia are enabling more children around the world to live longer and more fulfilling lives. Other vaccines, like those that protect against the flu or cervical cancer, keep people healthy and fruitful.
The COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, and the climate crisis profoundly impact vaccine coverage. During the last two years, in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has worked together, successfully developing effective vaccines against COVID-19. Yet, injustice and inequity remain in their distribution and vaccines have yet to benefit those most in need. The pandemic also contributed to about 23 million children missing out on basic vaccines in 2020 – the highest number since 2009.
Two-thirds of the world's unimmunised children are living in countries engulfed by conflict.
The climate crisis-induced events such as cyclones, heat waves, heavy flooding, droughts, and locust invasions, which disrupt livelihoods, health services, and infrastructure, negatively impact immunisation coverage.
WCC and its member churches and communities are committed to work with WHO in countries across the globe to raise awareness of the value of vaccines and immunization and support governments to implement high-quality immunization programmes.
"During this World Immunization Week when we strive for more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, let us continue to work for justice, equity, peace and towards ending all conflict,” said WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca. “Let us also continue to transform our lives and how we relate with the world and each other, to ensure climate justice. ‘Long Life For All’ is dependent on how we relate with each other and our environment.”