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IIDR Celebrates World Immunization Week 2017!

From April 24-30, 2017, the IIDR is proud to recognize World Immunization Week

World Immunization Week is a World Health Organization global health week that aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

The theme for this year is #VaccinesWork. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Today, there are still 19.4 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world.

The IIDR is celebrating this week by sharing inspiring words from our researchers about the importance of vaccines as well as the vital research we do to discover new and improved vaccines to combat infectious diseases:

The easiest infection to cure is the one you did not get. Vaccines protect us from some of the scourges that plagued humanity over the centuries. Few can now remember smallpox, polio, and the dozens of infections that maimed, crippled or killed infants in the past (measles, rubella, diphtheria…). Vaccines have transformed public health and are poised to help in the fight against antibiotic resistance as researchers continue to explore new ways to train our immune systems to fight deadly disease. Vaccines are SAFE and protect you, your children, your parents and your grandparents. Researchers at the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research are committed to finding new vaccines and vaccine strategies to tackle the most dangerous threats and to keep us safe.” – Gerry Wright, Director, IIDR

“It’s simple: vaccines save lives! Childhood vaccines, such as the one for measles, are responsible for saving about 17.1 million lives since 2000, according to WHO. In developing countries where mass vaccination efforts have been successful in recent years, thanks to the Measles and Rubella Initiative launched in 2001, deaths due to measles have decreased dramatically. On the other hand, in developed countries like Canada where the anti-vaccine campaigns have gained traction, we have seen recent outbreaks leading to hospitalizations and even deaths due to measles. World Immunization Week is a good reminder that if all of us can do our part by getting immunized, we will protect not only ourselves but also the most vulnerable people in our communities, including infants, children under 5 years old and the elderly.  IIDR researchers are working hard to develop newer and better vaccines against infections like HIV, TB and Influenza, that are responsible for millions of death world-wide. For us, this week is a reminder to re-dedicate ourselves and expedite our efforts; there is much work to do.” – Charu Kaushic, Member, IIDR

“Infectious diseases continue to present one of the most pressing risks to global health and security. Thus, the development and adoption of vaccines must not be viewed as a benefit to the individual, but rather as a social imperative. Next to the availability of clean water, no other medical technology has had a more safe and profound effect on improving global health. Many vaccine-preventable diseases disproportionately affect the most vulnerable individuals in our societies; these include young children, the elderly, people undergoing treatments for cancer, transplant recipients and those with other underlying medical conditions. Seasonal influenza virus is a good example of a pathogen that many people take for granted. While young, healthy individuals do not typically die from infection – they become vessels of transmission to those who are vulnerable, resulting in an average of 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year. If you knew that getting a simple needle could save the life of your grandparent or infant, would you do it? I certainly would. This week, we should not only remember the millions of lives that vaccines have saved to-date – we should strive ever more fervently to support the development of new vaccines to save millions more in the future.”