Children with Disabilities Overlooked for Vaccinations: How You Can Help during World Immunization Week
World Immunization Week, the last week of April, aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
During this important week, Kupenda remembers how children with disabilities, especially those in developing nations, are often overlooked in vaccination campaigns and by parents who believe immunizing their children with disabilities is a waste of time and money.
You can also help us share these important facts from UNICEF:
- Immunizations must reach every child, including the estimated 150 million infants and children aged under 5 years who live with a disability.
- Immunization is a right guaranteed for all children, including children with disabilities, as stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities passed in 2006 and now ratified by over 100 countries.
- Improving access to immunization for children with disabilities will give them a healthier start in life allowing them to avoid preventable illnesses, further disablement or death.
- Immunization not only protects children from vaccine preventable diseases, it also serves as an opportunity to deliver other lifesaving measures, such as
- vitamin A supplements to prevent malnutrition,
- insecticide treated nets for protection against malaria,
- deworming medicine for worms infestation, and
- provides a platform to promote birth registration.
- Adolescents with disabilities must not be forgotten in immunization efforts. It should be a priority to ensure they receive vaccines for influenza, meningitis, cancers and HPV.
Children and adolescents with disabilities are at a significant risk of not being included in immunization efforts and are consequently at an increased risk of preventable illness and death.