National Vaccination Day or National Immunisation Day is celebrated on March 16 every year across the country to spread awareness about the importance of vaccines in the human health. It highlights the importance of vaccines in to fight against the fatal diseases and to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of doctors, frontline health care workers for ensuring the vaccination of every child.
Vaccination is a vital aspect of public health. Vaccines provide immunity to the body against future encounters by the same pathogen. They have reduced the prevalence of several deadly diseases like measles, chicken pox, tetanus, rubella, polio, and most recently Covid-19.
The day was first observed in in 1995 when the government of India officially launched the Pulse Polio Immunisation program to eradicate polio from the country. On March 16, 1995, the first dose of the oral polio vaccine was administered in India as part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which began in 1988. The vaccination program was popularised through a nationwide campaign called ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ki’.
Children of age 0-5 years are administered two drops of the vaccine orally at public health centres. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the last Polio case was reported in West Bengal’s Howrah in 2011 and the WHO declared India Polio free on March 27, 2014.
India is now moving towards the eradication of measles and rubella through the vaccination of over 324 million children through MR vaccination campaigns.
National Vaccination Day is observed to create awareness among people about the benefits of vaccination children and adults. Vaccination is the most effective method of preventing highly infectious disease and keeping them at bay. It also signifies the the need to get vaccinated and encourages to stay healthy.
India recently witnessed how one vaccine helped almost every citizen of the country to become immune against Covid-19 even as more variants took over. Till date, 2,20,64,71,236 Covid vaccines have been administered in the country.
Every year, the day is celebrated under a specific theme. In 2022, the theme was, ‘Vaccines Work For Everyone’. However, the theme for this year is not announced yet.