24th -30th April 2023- The Big Catch-Up
World Immunisation Week is an annual global campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that takes place during the last week of April. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of immunisation as a fundamental tool in preventing diseases and protecting public health. The campaign highlights the need for universal access to vaccines for people of all ages, promotes the benefits of vaccination, and encourages catch-up vaccination for those who may have missed out on routine vaccinations.
With the theme “The Big Catch-Up”, this year’s campaign emphasises the importance of catching up on missed vaccinations in order to protect individuals and communities against vaccine-preventable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routine immunisation programs, leading to an alarming decline in immunisation coverage worldwide.
In Ghana, there exists a gap in essential vaccination coverage. Children in urban areas of the country often miss out on timely doses of life-saving vaccines leaving many children, in particularly in urban areas, at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. There is, therefore, a need to prioritise catching up on missed vaccinations in our communities and to provide community members with accurate information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The Ghana College of Pharmacists recognises the crucial role of pharmacist vaccinators and community pharmacies in this effort. Pharmacist vaccinators are highly trained healthcare professionals who play a pivotal role in expanding access to vaccines, particularly in underserved areas. Community pharmacies serve as trusted healthcare hubs, providing convenient and accessible immunisation services. Pharmacists educate patients, address vaccine hesitancy, and ensure that individuals receive the right vaccines at the right time.
During World Immunisation Week and beyond, we appreciate and support the vital role of pharmacist vaccinators and their community pharmacies in catching up on missed vaccinations. Their dedication and expertise in delivering vaccines are instrumental in protecting individuals and communities against vaccine-preventable diseases. We call upon policymakers, healthcare providers, and communities to leverage the potential of pharmacist vaccinators and community pharmacies in closing the immunisation gap and safeguarding public health.
Together, let us make “The Big Catch-Up” a reality by prioritising immunisation, ensuring access to vaccines for all, and supporting the invaluable contribution of pharmacist vaccinators and their community pharmacies in protecting our communities.
Vaccines are our best defence against vaccine-preventable diseases, and with collective efforts, we can make a difference in safeguarding the health and well-being of our communities.
 World Health Organization. (2023). World Immunization Week 2023. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-immunization-week/2023
 Asuman, D., Ackah, C.G. & Enemark, U. Inequalities in child immunization coverage in Ghana: evidence from a decomposition analysis. Health Econ Rev 8, 9 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13561-018-0193-7