Insight: How immunisation plays a key role in disease prevention
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Insight: How immunisation plays a key role in disease prevention

Insight: How immunisation plays a key role in disease prevention

The CDC estimates 21 million hospitalisations and 732,000 deaths will be avoided among children born over a 20-year period because of vaccines

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vaccines Fokion Sinis Sanofi

We should know by now that a simple viral disease can quickly spiral into a full-blown global pandemic that can easily bring the world to its knees. Immunisation has prevented more than 13 million deaths of children in the last two decades through UNICEF’s efforts.  In the US alone, approximately 42,000 of the 4.1 million children born each year would die early deaths as a result of diseases that could be prevented with vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 21 million hospitalisations and 732,000 deaths will be avoided among children born over a 20-year period because of vaccines.  Moreover, measles-related deaths declined by 79 per cent between 2000 and 2014 as a result of more widespread global access to the vaccine, saving an estimated 17.1 million lives, according to estimates by the World Health Organization.

Vaccinations to children born over a 20-year period will save nearly $295bn in direct costs, which includes avoided hospitalisations and other medical care, and $1.38tn in total costs to society, such as lost wages and decreased productivity, according to CDC data.

Across all babies born today, $13.5bn in direct health treatment costs are prevented over a lifetime with vaccines, a study from Translational Science concluded. The same study also found $70bn in lost productivity is avoided by preventing diseases with vaccines.

 Vaccine-preventable diseases have not gone away. As viral transmission continues, viruses are also provided with a perfect opportunity to mutate (as its nature) and create a new variant that might prove more infectious or resistant to the available vaccines and therapies. Adolescents may not be severely affected by the virus as children, but they can act as the carriers of the infection. To prevent that vaccination is necessary.

Despite the many promises that vaccines continue to hold and deliver, it remains baffling why many people globally don’t realise the immense value of inoculations. Post Covid-19 the awareness about the need for immunisation has increased but there are still many challenges ahead. Challenges may include inadequate organisation of the healthcare system, clinicians not adequately educated about vaccines, fear of immunisation-related adverse events, supply and distribution.

Practices with reminder systems in place can improve immunisation rates. Electronic health records (EHR) may improve the efficiency of office practice through standardised record-keeping, especially regarding missed visits and accurate immunisation records. supportive staff, convenient office times, and limited wait time for immunisations contributed to fully immunised children. Better planning when it comes to availability and supply.

The ease of administering vaccines in the clinic belies the complex history behind the research and development of each of the products used commonly today. Besides the traditional inactivated or live-attenuated, virus-vectored and subunit vaccines, emerging non-viral vaccine technologies, such as viral-like particle and nanoparticle vaccines, DNA/RNA vaccines, rational vaccine design and messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, offer innovative approaches to address existing challenges of vaccine development.

 While advanced science paves the way for the discovery of more effective vaccines that improve people’s lives, everyone plays a crucial role in combatting vaccine hesitancy in order to reduce morbidity and mortality.

The writer is vaccines general manager at Sanofi Greater Gulf.

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