World immunization week
This year for World Immunization Week, WHO Pakistan salutes the thousands of brave individuals who fight for the right to immunize. These “Vaccine Heroes” are everyday Pakistanis who dedicate their lives to giving Pakistanis access to one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions in history: vaccination.
Routine childhood immunization prevents illness, disability and death from diseases including diphtheria, polio, and hepatitis A and B. The benefits of immunization are increasingly being extended from children to adolescents and adults, providing protection against life-threatening diseases such as influenza, meningitis, and cervical and liver cancers. Strengthening routine immunization in Pakistan, which has a considerable number of under- and unvaccinated children, will limit the occurrence and spread of vaccine-preventable diseases.
One of the major factors that determines whether a child will receive vaccinations is the primary caregiver’s receptiveness to immunization. This is where community health workers come in. By educating caregivers and answering their questions, they serve as powerful advocates for vaccination, even creating demand where previously there might have been hesitation.
There is no question about getting him vaccinated because everyone in our community does so. All our children are precious to us, so we encourage each other to follow the immunization schedule.
It is our duty as parents to make sure our children are given preventative treatment from a young age so that they do not fall prey to deadly diseases.” – Farwa, mother of 4-month old Zain, Rawalpindi
“I always bring my grandson to the door when community vaccinators come, or I take him to the local health centre. Grandmother bring grandson to door to vaccinate him on time I am usually the one at home with him during the day, so it is my responsibility to ensure he gets his vaccinations. I do this because I know it is necessary to provide him this protection in childhood – before, God forbid – anything bad happens to him.” – Grandmother, Rawalpindi
“My daughter Aasia is only nine months old and I make sure to bring her for all her necessary vaccinations and check-ups. polio campaign 2019,polio vaccination campaign,vaccination,I make sure she is vaccinated because it will help give her the best life possible and ensure she grows up happy, healthy and safe. As a mother, nothing in the world makes me happier than knowing this!” – Shazia, mother of Aasia, Rawalpindi
“My niece Rijha is two years old. She loves playing with her precious doll. Every time vaccinators come to our door, I tell her that she and hereverytime polio worker come. rijha is vaccinated on time doll must rush downstairs to get vaccinated or else they will get sick. When she hears this, she never protests and runs downstairs to get vaccinated with the other children on our street!” – Tajarya Najam Ghulam, Aunt, Rawalpindi
“I took drops because mother says they keep me safe from diseases and I don’t like being sick. When I am sick I cannot play with my cousins and my mother and father take me to the doctor. I like to dress up as a princess, because they are beautiful and also healthy. The drops tasted very bad, but I still took them because my teacher at the school said we have to. She also told me that they keep me and my friends safe from diseases.”
– Jannat Awais, three and a half years old, Lahore
I am often asked what Islam says on the usage of vaccines and whether they are permissible. People have seen so much controversy on immunization in newspapers and on audio/visual channels so they are seeking a clear answer. I present evidence and analysis from scientists, religious scholars and doctors to tell them that vaccines are beneficial. I am very hopeful that after we provide them with logical reasoning and the correct teachings regarding immunization, people leave convinced and satisfied that they can continue to use vaccinations without any apprehensions.”
– Mufti Laeeq Ahmad Ghaznavi, religious scholar, Peshawar
"I am one of the rare women who has support from her mother-in-law to work outside the family. My mother-in-law has very good communication skills despite being illiterate, and while I vaccinate children she engages the mothers and even men, if they are home, when there is a refusal. After struggling over the last three years, our community now accepts vaccination and we are mobilizing them for routine immunization. Gulbashra marking the door of a house with her mother-in-law supporting her/WHO Pakistan ©S. Gull
Vaccination should be mandatory for all children as it saves them polio worker in field from several deadly diseases. As time passes, people are becoming more aware of this. Parents are now taking their children to the health facilities for vaccination. And after just one mosque announcement, mothers bring their children to the RI station for vaccination. I think there should be proper policy to make sure that children are vaccinated, with fines and punishments for those who don’t.”
– Muhammad Sajjad, Vaccinator, Lahore
“I have worked for polio eradication in Pakistan for 25 years now. I have seen the change from a sky high number of cases to the low number we see now. I am confident that Pakistan will become polio-free soon. My biggest motivation for this job is time. I have invested so much of my life’s work in the field, vaccinating children. I cannot quit now. I have to see the end. My biggest challenge is when I meet someone who is against vaccination. I cannot believe that people still have that kind of view. I think not getting your child immunized is the biggest sin you can commit as a parent.”
– Aliya Shabnum, Lady Health Worker, Lahore