UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham, is fronting a global initiative to inspire confidence in vaccines and encourage parents around the world to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases.
In a powerful video released ahead of World Immunization Week, Beckham talks about the loss of everyday activities due to COVID-19, such as hugs with family, spending time with friends, and being with the people we love, and encourages parents to vaccinate themselves so that they can be safe. He also urges families to ensure that their children are receiving routine vaccinations to protect them against diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio.
“In the last year, COVID-19 has shown us how much we take for granted but it has also reminded us about the power of vaccines,” said Beckham. “Vaccines work, saving millions of lives every year. I have learned through my work with UNICEF just how important they are for the health of our loved ones. Yet too many children around the world don’t get the routine vaccines they need to be safe from deadly diseases. That’s why this World Immunization Week, I’m so proud to be joining UNICEF and partners to encourage parents to vaccinate themselves and their children.”
To help spread the word online about the effectiveness of vaccines, starting today, UNICEF will join with global partners and funders to rally parents, health workers and the public to become online advocates for vaccines. For every like, share or comment on posts mentioning a UNICEF social media account and using the hashtag #VaccinesWork from now until the end of April, the United Nations Foundation’s [email protected] campaign and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate US$ 1 to UNICEF – up to a total of US$5 million – to ensure all children get the life-saving vaccines they need.
Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative said, “As India fights the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a vaccine has never been felt so strongly. In prioritizing decisions to vaccinate and protect communities from COVID-19, we must also remember to take the steps needed to ensure that children are vaccinated on time. We cannot take the risk of children being exposed to other vaccine-preventable diseases like polio, measles, diphtheria and hepatitis.”
Every year, 14 million infants and children globally do not receive any vaccines against preventable diseases, with many living in remote rural locations, conflict zones or slum settings and without access to other essential health services. In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this situation even more dire, as pandemic-related lockdowns and supply disruptions threaten a devastating rise in preventable child deaths.
World Immunization Week – celebrated every year in the last week of April – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Using the theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, World Immunization Week 2021 will urge greater engagement around immunization globally to promote the importance of vaccination in bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere, throughout life.
In India, every year, the Universal Immunization Programme caters to the vaccination needs of 2.65 crore children and 2.9 crore pregnant women against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.