Theme: “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork”
Bhutan joins the global community in observing the World Immunization Week 2018 to increase awareness on the benefits of vaccination and increase demand for immunization for prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunization is the most effective way to protect children from dangerous diseases, thereby protecting children’s lives and futures. Yet, more than half of the world’s most vulnerable children still miss out on the essential vaccines they need to survive and live healthy lives.
To mark the World Immunization Week, 24-30 April, 2018 the Ministry of Health in partnership with UNICEF and WHO will accelerate action to increase awareness and demand for immunization and improve vaccination coverage so that children can be protected against deadly diseases. Globally immunization averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The 2018 immunization week with the theme “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork” will be observed from 24 to 30 April 2018 and aims to highlight the collective action needed to ensure that every person is protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Immunization prevent illnesses, disabilities and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rubella and tetanus.
The world immunization week 2018 signals a renewed global, regional and national effort to increase awareness and demand for immunization by communities and improve vaccination delivery services.
Bhutan‘s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was launched on 15 November 1979 with an objective of reducing the incidences of six vaccine-preventable diseases: Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Whooping cough, Tetanus, Polio and Measles. Over the years, the programme has increased both in reach and coverage sustained at over 95%.
Bhutan achieved Measles elimination certificate in April 2017. To sustain Measles elimination, Bhutan conducted supplementary Measles and Rubella immunization campaign in 2017 with the support from WHO and UNICEF.
Currently vaccines provided with support from UNICEF are available to prevent 11 diseases through routine immunization programme reaching 56000 children aged 0-2 years, 6 and 12 years, and about 13,500 pregnant women each year.