NEW YORK : The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is launching a global campaign to disseminate the power and safety of vaccines among parents and wider social media users.
UNICEF will conduct this campaign along with the World Immunization Week which will be observed from April 24-30. The effort will be to spread awareness of the fact that communities and parents can protect kids and elders through vaccines.
This year, UNICEF is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, the Vaccine Alliance and Gavi to further promote #VaccinesWork on social media.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute $ 1 to UNICEF for every like or share of social media posts using the hashtag #VaccinesWork in April, up to $1 million, said the Fund.
Vaccines save up to 3 million people every year from dying of diseases. They are thus a most cost-effective measure ever invented. Every dollar spent on childhood immunization brings up to 44 fold benefits, claims UNICEF.
“This campaign is an opportunity to show the world that social media can be a powerful force for change and provide parents with trustworthy information on vaccines,” said Robin Nandy, UNICEF’s Chief of Immunization.
UNICEF said that despite the benefits of vaccines, an estimated 1.5 million children died of vaccine-preventable diseases in 2017. While this is often due to lack of access to vaccines, in some countries families are delaying or refusing to vaccinate their children because of complacency or skepticism about vaccines.
It further said that this has resulted in several outbreaks, including an alarming surge in measles, especially in higher-income countries. Uncertainty about vaccines on digital and social media platforms is one of the factors driving this trend.