Blog

Weekly Blog - 28 April 2024 - World Immunization Week

 

World Immunization Week

This week (24 – 30 April) is World Immunization Week.  There is a huge drive to scale up vaccinations around the world, something which can save millions of lives.  Diseases like Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Meningitis A, Measles, Mumps, Polio, Rotaviruses, Rubella, Tetanus, Yellow Fever and of course Covid 19 can all be significantly reduced and in some cases eliminated altogether through vaccination.  Such vaccines make an enormous difference to the lives of people around the world.  The World Health Organisation reports the story of Wezzie Phiri, a health worker in a rural community on the outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi.  Since malaria vaccinations were introduced she reports, “It has been very helpful for the community and the facility.  Since most of the parents are able to take their children to receive the malaria vaccine, the number of children who get sick with malaria and come here to the health center has really reduced.”  She adds, “I have 2 girls.  The 1st one, she never received the vaccine.  But with my little one, she finished the 4 doses and I can see the difference.  With the older one, it used to be a struggle, because every 2 months she used to get sick with malaria.  But with the little one, she has finished all the vaccines and it has been good.” [1] 

Around the world there is a real need to step up the roll out of vaccines.  After many years of continual improvement in vaccination rates, there was a notable drop in all vaccination levels in 2020 – 2021 as a result of Covid 19.  In the last couple of years this has begun to recover, but in many cases it is still not back to pre-pandemic levels.  Some 84% of the world’s population has currently been vaccinated against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis; 83% of children have received a first dose of Measles vaccine and 48% have received a Yellow Fever vaccine, in the countries that are at risk from it.  But tens of millions of children and adults around the world remain unvaccinated against some of the world’s deadliest diseases, including 14.3 million children who have not received any vaccination against any disease at all.[2]  Coverage is weakest in many of the world’s poorest countries in Africa and Asia.

 

Heal the sick

As Christians, we know it is not God’s desire for anyone to suffer sickness and ill health.  Over and over again we are told how Jesus "went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness(Matt 9: 35).  He repeatedly instructed us his followers to also “heal the sick” (Luke 10: 9).  Today God continues to heal the sick all around the world, both through miraculous prayer, and through professional healthcare interventions like vaccination.  One of the things a major piece of research from Arise, the 4 Shifts Report, looks at in detail is what the Bible teaches us and the lessons from history indicate works best for improving people’s health around the world.  It finds repeatedly that where health has dramatically improved it is where governments have ensured that health services are in place, usually funded through taxation, so that all their populations have access to good physical and mental healthcare (4 Shifts Report, pg 11 – 20, 35 – 39, 61 – 64).  Today, some 68% of people in the world now have universal health coverage, up from 45% in 2000. [3]  However, this progress is slowing, and it still leaves a third of the population of the world without access to good healthcare.  Functioning and well-resourced national healthcare systems are fundamental for ensuring the successful roll out of vaccination programmes and the tens of millions of lives they save. 

 

Taxation and social spending

As part of our 4 Shifts Campaign for a fair and green economy, Arise is calling for a global shift from economies that only work for the richest to societies which tax and provide social spending to also help the poorest, so they can meet urgent needs like healthcare and vaccination.  Evidence from dozens of nations around the world indicates that to do this countries need to collect tax at an amount equivalent to at least 45% of the national economy, one third from income taxes, one third from wealth taxes and one third from other taxes.  They then need to spend at least two thirds of this on healthcare, education and social protection (pensions, benefits etc.).  This needs to be agreed at an international level as a global tax and social spending agreement to be implemented in every nation (4 Shifts, pg 95 – 96).  With such a global agreement in place, and implemented in every nation – the world could finally close the gap and reach universal vaccination and universal health coverage. 

 

Find out more

Find out more about why the world needs 4 Shifts to transition to a fair and green global economy in Arise’s 4 Shifts Report

And for the bigger picture of how God is at work in the world, and the role we all have to play in that work, check out the Arise Manifesto.  This is Arise’s big picture, researched, Biblical, holistic and practical vision for a better world.  It looks at what the Bible says, and what we can learn from the best data and the world’s leading experts on the five major areas of evangelism, discipleship, social justice, development and the environment.  It then draws these lessons together into a practical road map for the changes we need to see in our world, which the Arise movement campaigns to achieve.

Found this blog online, or sent it by a friend?  Sign up to receive weekly blogs from Arise directly.

 

[1] Mothers in Malawi value the first malaria vaccine, WHO, (14 Apr 2023), https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/mothers-in-malawi-value-the-first-malaria-vaccine

[2] Immunization coverage, WHO, (18 Jul 2023), https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/immunization-coverage

[3] Universal health coverage (UHC), WHO, (5 Oct 2023), https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/universal-health-coverage-(uhc)

Join The Movement!  Sign up here