After a year of lockdowns, empty classrooms and cancelled family gatherings, people all over the world are starting to get a COVID-19 vaccine or awaiting the moment when they will. We all know vaccines are the best hope we have of resuming our normal lives and bringing us closer. With vaccines at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must also remember the critical role that routine vaccines for children play in protecting children, UNICEF Representative Patrizia Di Giovanni said following a visit to the Gjorche Petrov Polyclinic, where routine vaccines are being administered to children from three municipalities in Skopje.
“COVID-19 has disrupted many services for children, however it is promising that the demand and delivery of routine vaccinations for children have remained unaffected to a large extent. For many families, immunization is an entry point to the health system, providing opportunities to prevent, detect, and treat conditions and promote good health,” Di Giovanni underlined.
“As the country accelerates the national rollout plan for COVID-19 vaccination, we must continue to sustain routine immunization services to ensure that every child in the country is fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella and other childhood diseases. This includes making sure that any redirection of resources from routine immunization services do not create bottlenecks for families to access and receive routine vaccine services for children. We also must make sure that childhood immunization records and data on national immunization coverage remain updated and data available to monitor any change in routine vaccine coverage,” she added.
According to her, pandemics and disease outbreaks are a reminder of the important role of vaccination throughout life, from infancy through to adolescence and older age.
“More than ever, vaccines have proven to be the best tool we have to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe. We must continue to ensure that routine immunization for children remains a top priority to prevent other outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases,” Di Giovanni noted.
This World Immunization Week countries around the world are engaging on the importance of vaccination in bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere, throughout life.
“Vaccines are amongst the greatest advances of modern medicine. Globally, they have slashed child mortality rates in half, saving millions of lives. Thanks to routine vaccines, many of us have been fortunate to grow up without seeing family or friends die or suffer life-long disability from disease like measles or polio. Routine vaccines in childhood have eliminated these diseases from many countries. While many serious diseases are no longer common in the country thanks to vaccines, these diseases still exist and can spread when people aren’t vaccinated. The measles outbreak in 2018-2019 which took the lives of children in North Macedonia is a reminder that we cannot take for granted immunization for children,” the UNICEF Representative stressed.