As a healthcare staffing agency, Advanced Home Care Solutions is approaching National Immunization Awareness Week (NIAW – April 23-30) with special appreciation – this is a topic that we have had to pay close attention to over the past two years. It’s clear that this year’s event comes at a significant moment – taking place during the largest vaccination rollout in global history. The pandemic has both united and divided us, and has served as a reminder of how fragile, yet powerful, the human spirit can be. At the end of the day, the past months and the ensuing data around vaccination = lower hospitalization truly showcased the importance of vaccine awareness – not just for preventing illness and disease, but for allowing us to be closer to the things we enjoy and the people we love.
Data confirms that when we receive a vaccine, our immune systems respond. We now have vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, meaning that 2-3 million deaths are prevented per year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza, and measles. We are now aware that vaccinations not only protect children from deadly diseases but protect other children by eliminating those same diseases. In other words, immunization protects future generations and helps to safeguard humankind from going the way of the dinosaur.
The viruses and bacteria that cause extreme illness and death have not gone away and can be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines. Even if many of the diseases are no longer common in North America, the world has shrunk drastically in that the acceleration of global travel has made it very easy for diseases to spread. Vaccines should be considered part of our overall health – as critical as diet and exercise when it comes to keeping us healthy. And while prior to COVID-19, approximately 50,00 adults died annually, it’s safe to assume that the number has skyrocketed with the crushing effects of a global pandemic, coupled with the uneven – and unfortunately controversial – rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Ultimately, however, as with their predecessors, the COVID-19 vaccines underwent a robust approval process and proved themselves highly effective.
What have we learned about vaccination? The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that young and healthy people can get very sick. Even though infants and older adults are at increased risk for serious outcomes and complications, the virus does not recognize numbers. Data has also confirmed that vaccine-preventable diseases are expensive: not only do they have a direct impact on individuals and families, but they carry a high price tag for society as a whole. For example, the average flu can last up to 15 days with 5 or 6 missed work or school days. Adults who get Hepatitis A lose an average of one month of work. Translated into dollars, those numbers are incredibly damaging. We have also learned that an illness that impacts one of us can impact many of us, including our children, grandchildren, or parents. Vaccines prevent that.
The facts literally speak for themselves, and during NIAW we will see increased awareness around immunization and the success that it has had in saving lives. Join all of us at Advanced Home Care Solutions in celebrating the critical role that vaccinations have played in the proliferation of the human race – and now more than at any time in history.