National Vaccination Day in India Date in the current year: March 16, 2024

National Vaccination Day in India The government of India designated March 16 as National Vaccination Day, also known as National Immunization Day. The main goal of the holiday is to raise awareness of the importance of immunization for public health and celebrate healthcare workers who deliver vaccines to children and adults.

Vaccination is a medical procedure designed to help the immune system develop active immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine contains an agent that resembles the microbe that causes the disease; it can be a dead or weakened form of the microbe, one of its surface proteins, or its toxins. The immune system recognizes the agent as a threat, destroys it, and thus learns to identify and neutralize the disease-causing microorganism.

The world’s oldest vaccine is the smallpox vaccine. It was developed in 1796 by English physician and scientist Edward Jenner. French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur developed the second generation of vaccines in the 1880s; he created vaccines for anthrax, cholera, and rabies. Today, there are vaccines for chickenpox, COVID-19, dengue, diphtheria, flu, hepatitis A and B, HPV, measles, meningococcal disease, mumps, polio, rotavirus, rubella, shingles, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, whooping cough, yellow fever, and other infectious diseases.

Vaccination is the most reliable method to prevent infectious diseases. It is responsible for the eradication of smallpox and a dramatic reduction in the incidence of poliomyelitis (polio), measles and tetanus in most of the world. Immunization programs help decrease child mortality and reduce the load on healthcare systems around the globe. Most countries have vaccination policies to prevent the spread of infections; some mandate immunization, while others strongly recommend it.

India’s National Vaccination Day is celebrated on March 16 to commemorate the day in 1995 when the first ever dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) was administered in India, kicking off the Pulse Polio immunization campaign. The government of India launched Pulse Polio to eliminate poliomyelitis by having all children under the aged of five vaccinated against the poliovirus.

The campaign was a success: in 2014, India was officially declared a poliomyelitis-free country by the World Health Organization. According to the WHO, India is also moving towards the elimination of rubella and measles through its children immunization campaigns with vaccination drives. The significance of vaccination drives and nationwide immunization became especially clear during the COVID-19 pandemic; India began to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccination campaign in April 2020, months before the first vaccines were authorized.

On the occasion of National Vaccination Day, the government of India and relevant stakeholders organize vaccination drives, awareness campaigns, and other events and activities to highlight the importance of immunization, educate the general public and combat the spread of misinformation about vaccination, and encourage Indians to get vaccinated against transferable diseases and have their children vaccinated as well.

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