National Vaccination Day: History, Significance, Purpose

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 2, 2022, 9:37

To raise awareness about the importance of vaccination and to reduce child mortality, National Vaccination Day is observed all over India on March 16. The main objective of this day is to ensure full immunization for children up to two years of age and pregnant women against seven vaccine-preventable diseases. The seven diseases against which vaccination is given are diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis (polio), tuberculosis, measles, and hepatitis B.

National Vaccination Day Significance

The National Vaccination Day is observed each year in India on March 16. The day marks the start of a country-wide pulse polio vaccination program in 1995. The Government of India initiated the program to eradicate polio by administering polio drops to all children less than five years of age, irrespective of their previous vaccination status.

National Vaccination day is a nationwide annual observance in India. As part of National Immunization Day celebrations, health workers go door-to-door and administer vaccines to children under five years old and pregnant women in urban slums and rural areas. 

Why was National Immunization Day Started?

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious viral disease that can result in paralysis, disability, and even death. In most cases, the symptoms are mild, but they can also lead to nerve impairment and muscle weakness. The virus spreads rapidly through contaminated food and water.

Dr Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine in 1952. He tested it on himself, his family, and his laboratory staff. Following this, he tested it on a group of adults and children who had never suffered from polio before. His vaccine was very effective in preventing polio caused by one of three viruses that cause the disease.

Purpose of Celebrating National Vaccination Day

Observing this day aims to raise awareness about disease prevention against various life-threatening diseases through vaccination. On National Vaccination Day, the government health workers fan out to administer polio drops to children below five years of age. The day is commemorated in collaboration with UNICEF ( United Nations Children's Fund) and WHO (World Health Organization).

The drive is conducted every year on a specified date by reminding the Indians that they successfully eradicated the disease through the Pulse Polio initiative by administering the oral polio vaccine to all children under five years of age.

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FAQs on National Vaccination Day

Q.1) What was the National Vaccination Day 2021 theme?

The theme for National Vaccination Day 2021 was 'Vaccines bring us closer.' 

Q.2) When was the first national vaccination day celebrated in India?

The first National Immunization Day was observed in India on March 16, 1995.

Q.3) What is the significance of celebrating National Vaccination Day?

The National Vaccination Day was started in 1995 to promote vaccination against poliomyelitis. The National Immunization Programme is aimed at eradicating polio in India. It was initiated to reach every child under five years of age, irrespective of whether they reside in urban or rural areas.