Aprile 2020

World Immunization Week 2020: How Vaccines Can Protect Us
WHO vaccines immunization week
Immunization protects us and others

The current race to find a vaccine to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a reminder of how important immunization is in counteracting diseases.










While most of us think of vaccines as a modern-day invention, there are historical records that the ancient Chinese already experimented with inoculation against smallpox.1 The history of immunization is essentially as long as the awareness of infectious diseases. The English physician Edward Jenner is commonly associated with founding vaccinology in the western world.2 Also he started with an immunization against smallpox in the late 1700s. In the 1800s, Louis Pasteur worked on vaccines against cholera and anthrax. Many more have followed since.


The development of vaccines has been a key factor in the support and advancement of health care. Diseases like polio and the highly contagious measles have largely been eliminated across the globe, while smallpox has in fact been declared as completely eradicated.3




What is World Immunization Week?


In the last week of April, we celebrate World Immunization Week, which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to encourage the use of vaccines to protect people against diseases.

The theme for 2020 is #VaccinesWork for All and highlights the importance of immunization as part of health care on a global scale by saving millions of lives.4

There is no vaccine for COVID-19 yet but due to existing vaccines for other diseases researchers can build on their own experiences and on those who have invented vaccines throughout history. The prospect of the development of a vaccine gives humanity hope that there will be a way to prevent this type of pandemic in the future.



1 Source: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline#EVT_100741

2 Source: https://www.immune.org.nz/vaccines/vaccine-development/brief-history-vaccination

3 Source: https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/disease-eradication

4 Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/campaigns/world-immunization-week/world-immunization-week-2020