Immunization is a powerful tool for global health and development, saving millions of lives every year. Vaccines reduce the risks of getting a disease by working the body’s natural immune system to build protection. Therefore, vaccines are critical to the prevention and control of infectious-disease outbreaks. For the very same reason, vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are at the top of the agenda of most policy makers to protect populations and decrease the pressure on healthcare systems. The World Immunization Week 2021 aims to further promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.
Immunization is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful health interventions. However, limited access to and acceptance of immunization prevent people from taking vaccines. Hence, the 2021 World Immunization Week – held every year in the last week of April – aims to increase trust and confidence in vaccines (acceptance) and increase investment in vaccines (accessibility).
Health[e]Foundation aims to contribute to increasing the trust and confidence in vaccines, among others in the fight against the current COVID-19 pandemic with its e-learning course Corona[e]Education. Rapidly circulating fake news and misinformation about vaccination form a major threat to vaccine uptake. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that people have access to reliable and fact-based information about vaccines to build trust and promote their take-up. People should have access to answers to legitimate questions, including what vaccines mean for them and whether a vaccine is appropriate for people with chronic health or other conditions. Strong public health messaging will contribute to allaying potential fears of the population and counteracting the spread of anti-vaccination fake news, including false claims that vaccines are a means of inserting microchips. The Corona[e]Education course provides this fact-based information to healthcare professionals, who in turn can better inform their clients.
Moreover, in the week of 10 May 2021 Health[e]Foundation will start with the implementation of the Health[e]Community program in Rwanda where 135 community health workers (CHWs) will receive a blended-learning program. An essential part of the Health[e]Community curriculum will be the newly developed COVID-19 module with the most recent information on vaccines, developed by the well-known virologists Jaap Goudsmit and professor Fransje van der Waals. With this module we aim to equip CHWs in Rwanda with knowledge on COVID-19 vaccination and skills to transfer this fact-based information to community members.
In the next weeks, the newly developed COVID-19 module will be added to the existing Corona[e]Education course and made available to health professionals for free! Join our Corona[e]Education course and let’s inspire communities by providing fact-based information and let vaccines bring us closer to our friends and family; a world without pandemics; and universal health coverage!