First Particular person: A plea for the life-saving properties of vaccines

Dr. Kate O’Brien, Immunization Director on the World Well being Group, devoted her life to immunization after working in a paediatric ward in Haiti, the place she noticed {that a} third of the youngsters admitted had been dying from ailments that might be prevented via vaccines. 

She explains how the United Nations, and its companions within the COVAX facility, are guaranteeing that vaccines attain each low-income nation on the earth.

Dr Kate O’Brien, World Health Organization’s Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals speaking at the United Nations in Geneva.

Dr Kate O’Brien, World Well being Group’s Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals talking on the United Nations in Geneva., by UN Information/Daniel Johnson

“Between 4 and 5 million lives are saved annually, because of being vaccinated. Immunization is likely one of the handiest, most impactful well being interventions in all of human historical past.

A whole bunch of thousands and thousands of individuals died from smallpox. It was a dreaded illness and within the late 1700s there was a tremendous breakthrough. A British doctor, Edward Jenner, observed that milkmaids who had been contaminated with cowpox – a associated illness – had been roughly immune from smallpox.

He used that statement to immunize an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, utilizing the cowpox virus. Weeks later, he uncovered James Phipps, with the permission of his mother and father, to smallpox, and he didn’t get sick.

Right this moment smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, due to vaccination.

One other illness that’s focused for eradication is polio.

Polio results in limb paralysis and incapacity, and many individuals die from the illness.
In locations like Pakistan and India, and lots of different international locations, big campaigns have vaccinated tens of thousands and thousands of kids over a brief time frame.

We’re now on the level the place polio has been diminished by over 99 per cent, and we’re so near ending transmission of this virus.

A young girl receives a vaccination against polio from a health worker in Kabul, Afghanistan.

© UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

A younger lady receives a vaccination in opposition to polio from a well being employee in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Dying from a scarcity of vaccines

I labored in a hospital in Haiti, within the capital metropolis, Port-au-Prince. The paediatric ward in that hospital was full of kids with measles, diarrhoea, meningitis and tuberculosis. Some had been born with tetanus. Each day, a couple of third of the youngsters admitted to the ward died.

So most of the sicknesses that they got here in with, had been utterly preventable with vaccination. 

I made a decision to commit my profession to not solely ensuring that new vaccines had been developed for ailments, but in addition, and extra importantly, guaranteeing that the vaccines that we have already got are utterly accessible, utterly accessible, utterly secure, and efficient for folks in each a part of the world, it doesn’t matter what neighborhood they’re born in.

An employee works on the production line of a COVID-19 vaccine in India

© UNICEF/ Dhiraj Singh

An worker works on the manufacturing line of a COVID-19 vaccine in India

The ability of COVAX

We’ve all been dwelling via the COVID-19 pandemic over the past, enormously troublesome, couple of years. We’ve seen the unimaginable growth, in a remarkably brief time frame, of vaccines that forestall COVID illness, and work in opposition to each an infection and transmission.

One of many ways in which vaccines have been despatched into each nation world wide is thru the COVAX facility. This allows billions of does to be shipped to international locations that want them however can’t purchase them on their very own. 

Eighty per cent of the doses offered to low-income international locations are coming via the COVAX facility, and round 92 nations are benefiting. 

A mother receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at a health centre in Obassin, Burkina Faso.

© UNICEF/Frank Dejongh

A mom receives her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at a well being centre in Obassin, Burkina Faso.

A social justice situation

We vaccinate in opposition to ailments which are transmissible from person-to-person. Which means, until we defend ourselves via using vaccines, every of us presents some degree of threat to another person.

So, I actually consider vaccination as a social fairness and social justice situation.

There’s nothing extra overwhelming, or extra tragic, than a wonderfully wholesome little one who succumbs to an an infection that was utterly preventable.”


Leave a Reply