National Vaccination Day, celebrated on March 16 every year, aims to create awareness about the significance of vaccines for maintaining good health. The day emphasizes the importance of vaccines in protecting against dangerous diseases and recognizing the efforts of doctors and healthcare workers in ensuring every child receives a vaccination.
Vaccination plays a crucial role in public health by providing immunity to the body against diseases. They are effective in preventing deadly diseases such as tetanus, measles, chickenpox, polio, rubella, and the recent Covid-19. They help reduce the spread of these diseases and protect individuals from future encounters with the same pathogen.
National Vaccination Day was first observed in 1995 . On this day, the Indian government launched the Pulse Polio Immunization program to eliminate polio from the country. On March 16, 1995, the first dose of the oral polio vaccine was given in India as part of the World Health Organization's initiative to eradicate polio globally, which started in 1988. The vaccination program was promoted through a nationwide campaign named 'Do Boond Zindagi Ki'.
In India, children aged between 0-5 years are given two drops of the oral vaccine at public health centers to prevent polio. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the last polio case in India was reported in Howrah, West Bengal, in 2011, and on March 27, 2014, the WHO declared India as a polio-free nation. Currently, India is focusing on eradicating measles and rubella by vaccinating over 324 million children through MR vaccination campaigns.
National Vaccination Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the advantages of vaccinating both children and adults. Vaccination is the most efficient way of preventing the spread of infectious diseases and keeping them under control. The day also emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated and promotes healthy living.
India has successfully vaccinated a vast majority of its population against Covid-19 using a single vaccine, despite the emergence of new variants. So far, the country has administered over 2.2 billion Covid vaccine doses.