Health Watch: World Immunization Week 2021

Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:09 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Every year, the last week of April is the World Health Organization’s “World Immunization Week”. This event exists to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Vaccines are widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.

Dr. Mishelle Nace, pediatrician at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital and Tanana Valley Clinic elaborated on the efficacy of vaccines in general, and what the near-future holds for COVID-19 vaccinations in Alaska. “What makes it so effective is that you’re treating a potential illness as opposed to the side effects of an illness, and it’s so much easier in medicine to do prevention than to treat a disease that’s there. So it allows our body to do what we are geared to - make immune responses. We’re just tricking it a little bit to get it more prepared for the real disease should it come our way.”

With the theme “Vaccines bring us closer,” World Immunization Week 2021 promotes the importance of vaccination in bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of communities as well as individuals.

Dr. Nace continued, “One of the things that you hear all the time about is COVID vaccine. In the wake of this, sometimes people’s regular appointments and vaccinations are getting pushed in the background. So COVID-19 and getting vaccinated... we support that and we want that to happen as well, but what we also want to keep up on the front burner is the other immunizations that children, teenagers and adults still need to get.”

Currently COVID-19 vaccines are approved for children age 16 and over. However according to Dr. Nace the Pfizer vaccine will soon be available to younger age brackets. “In this next few weeks we expect to get the EUA for kids ages 12, 13, 14, and 15 to come on through. So a goal before kids go back to school this fall that those junior-highers and highschoolers are able to get that COVID-19 vaccine. So something to look forward to, and should be coming out in the month of May.”

Dr. Nace issued a reminder that a two week period is required between receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and other vaccines children may need before returning to schools.

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