Globalization and Vaccination

Posted on April 24, 2013

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WIW 2013This year’s World Immunization Week slogan is “Protect your world – get vaccinated,” which conveys how important vaccines are and how vaccines affect the entire world. In today’s day and age, globalization has been the key theme to almost every aspect of our lives, such as business, education, and personal relationships. With the help of modern transportation, the internet, and other technological breakthroughs, the world seems a little bit smaller and we are all able to interact with one another.

One aspect of our lives that is also affected by globalization is disease. Health is one of the risks that come with international travel. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), statistics from the World Tourism Organization show that international tourist arrivals in 2010 for any purpose (business, leisure, etc.) added up to about 940 million and this number is expected to keep increasing. To minimize the health risk on travelers, the WHO created a list of vaccinations that international travelers should get. The vaccinations are broken down into 3 categories; Routine, Selective, and Required.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is one of the vaccinations on the WHO’s list for travelers and is categorized as a routine vaccine. Although only three countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan) are still considered polio-endemic, routine infant polio vaccinations are still recommended worldwide because of its ability to spread through travel. Travelers from countries where polio still occur may be required to be fully vaccinated from polio first before entering the polio-free country, or even before applying for a visa to the polio-free country. This just shows that until polio has been eradicated from every country in the world, polio remains a threat to everyone.

Cases of polio have decreased by 99% since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed in 1988. Why stop now?

I am a Shot@Life Champion, and I urge you to celebrate Shot@Life’s 1st birthday and World Immunization Week by joining Shot@Life at giving kids everywhere a shot at longer, healthier lives.