World Immunization Week 2019

World Immunization Week 2019. Credit: WHO

World Immunization Week 2019: April 24th-30th

The last week of April every year is World Immunization Week promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. "Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today".

The theme of World Immunization Week 2019 is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!, with the WHO campaign celebrating Vaccine Heroes from around the world – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected, at all ages, through the power of vaccines.

To celebrate World Immunization Week 2019 the Vaccine Centre at LSHTM has produced a short podcast series to showcase the important work going on in Vaccine application, innovation and evaluation at the School and beyond. Each day we will publish one podcast on a different aspect of vaccines.

Episode 1

Progress towards a universal flu vaccine: understanding the many 'hats' of the influenza virus

April 24th: Join Dr Petra Klepac from the VaC steering group and Professor Sunetra Gupta from the University of Oxford discussing the kind of ‘wardrobe’ that pathogens wear andthey use it to hide from our immune system, how mathematical modelling of evolution of epitope diversity in infectious disease pathogens can lead to a candidate universal flu vaccine.

Episode 2

Learning from Nature: how we can protect newborn babies even better against infections

April 25th: In this podcast Professor Beate Kampmann, director of the LSHTM Vaccine Centre, talks about the “gift of antibody” that every mother provides to her baby naturally during pregnancy, how we can further enhance this type of protection by giving safe vaccines to pregnant women, and how this concept has already been applied. She is interviewed by a member of the Centre Dr Sandra Mounier-Jack.

Episode 3

TB and the story of the BCG vaccine

April 26th: In this episode Professor Paul Fine tells the story of BCG (the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine. As one of the widest used vaccines globally, Prof Fine explores evidence for how well BCG protects against tuberculosis and other diseases, who can be protected by vaccination, the history of how it was developed in conversation with Dr Rebecca Harris of the Vaccine Centre steering group.

Episode 4

New TB vaccines: the cutting edge

April 29th: In this 4th podcast in the series Professors Hazel Dockrell and Richard White take you on a journey through the world of new TB vaccines, exploring why we need new vaccines, challenges in their development, exciting recent breakthroughs in vaccine development and what this might mean for the future. The interview is conducted by Dr Rebecca Harris, a member of the steering group of the Vaccine Centre at LSHTM and active member of the LSHTM TB Centre.

Episode 5

Understanding vaccine confidence: insights from social science research

April 30th: In this podcast, Professor Heidi Larson is interviewed by Dr Tracey Chantler of the Vaccine Centre steering committee. They discuss Professor Larson’s work as the Director of the LSHTM based Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP) a WHO recognised centre of excellence, and methods being used to track vaccine confidence and hesitancy in populations. They also discuss the importance of social science research in helping to guide vaccine interventions and immunization policy.

Episode 6

A WHO perspective on vaccines and immunization: challenges, opportunities and the way forward

May 1st: Join Professor Kate O’Brien Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organisation (WHO) as she reflects on World Immunization Week 2019, and discusses priorities and future work of the WHO on vaccines in conversation with Dr Kevin Tetteh of the Vaccine Centre steering committee. Professor O'Brien touches on some of the most significant achievements of the WHO on immunization to date, the importance of providing tailored support to countries given their diverse needs and challenges, and opportunities to continue to expand the coverage and impact of immunization.