Thursday, 28 May 2015

Vaccines: One of the best investments one can make?

Vaccines have long been in controversies, be it the relation between vaccines and autism or the voice against forced vaccination. So when one says they might be one of the best investments one can make, it sure sounds a bit bizarre. But imagine there is an infectious disease spreading through your community. It leaves some people crippled; others die from it. Then someone comes along and says,” Here’s something that will protect you and your family from this disease for the rest of your life. And the best part, you can have it for free!” Sounds relieving right?

This kind of scenarios may sound unreal, but it is very real for millions of people from some of the world’s poorest nations. Vaccines which were once out of reach for them are now getting delivered in large numbers every year. That means more parents are feeling the relief of knowing their families are protected.

Let’s start with Polio for instance. Cases are down more than 99 percent since 1988. Last year there was an amazing achievement for India, when it was declared polio free. And as of Nigeria, the number of polio cases is at an all time low. If this feat goes on, 2015 could be the year when for the first time Nigeria goes without a case of wild polio virus and for the first time all of Africa is polio free. And if this commitment is maintained, by 2018 this disease could be eradicated completely from everywhere, forever.

There is also some fantastic progress in delivering basic immunizations for diseases like measles and pneumonia. According to the public health group Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, expanding vaccine coverage in the next five years can save as many as 6 million lives and unlock more than $100 billion in economic benefit.

Vaccines save lives, which is a reason enough to make sure they get out there. They also give rise to a ripple effect. When the health of a country improves, poor countries can divert funds to other economic development activities like infrastructure, roads, etc. which drive growth thus helping them to depend less on aids. Vaccines can deliver all this for, in some cases, free. May be its time we see them as investments!  

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Hilleman Laboratories is a global vaccine research & development organization focused on making affordable vaccines using innovation to address gaps that exist in low resource settings. Hilleman Labs acts as a catalyst in bridging the gap between academic research and product development by targeting novel vaccines and increasing the efficiency of existing vaccines. Know More

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