#VaccinesWork Saving up to 3 Million Lives Each Year
Amid a surge in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced a new social media campaign, emphasizing that “vaccines are safe, and they save lives”.
To inspire confidence in the power and safety of vaccines, UNICEF is using the hashtag #VaccinesWork for the global campaign, centered around World Immunization Week, which runs from April 24 to April 30, 2019.
Robin Nandy, UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization said in a press release, “This campaign is an opportunity to show the world that social media can be a powerful force for change and provide parents with trustworthy information on vaccines.”
The #VaccinesWork hashtag has long been used to bring together immunization advocates online.
This year, UNICEF is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership known as Gavi, to encourage even greater reach.
For every like or share in April of social media posts with the hashtag #VaccinesWork, the Gates Foundation will contribute a dollar to UNICEF – up to $1M in total – to ensure that all children get the life-saving vaccines they need.
Vaccines save up to 3 million lives a year, according to UN figures.
Moreover, they are one of the most cost-effective health tools ever invented, with every $1 spent on childhood immunization returning up to $44 in benefits.
They achieve this scale by protecting children from potentially deadly, highly infectious diseases, including measles, pneumonia, cholera, and diphtheria.
And yet, in 2017 an estimated 1.5 million children died of vaccine-preventable diseases, said the United Nations.
While often due to lack of access, there is a trend in some countries in which families, skeptical of vaccines, are delaying or refusing to vaccinate their children.
This has resulted in several outbreaks, including an alarming measles surge in high-income countries where misinformation is being driven on digital and social media platforms.
As of April 15, 2019, the WHO reported 170 countries having 112,163 measles cases during 2019.
“Today nine in ten children receive immunizations, but we cannot leave anyone behind”, said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Grammy award-winner Angélique Kidjo.
“We must reach every child with life-saving vaccines”.