Vaccines: Vital in fighting antimicrobial resistance
Immunization has a crucial role to play in the reduction of AMR. Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective health tools; every dollar spent on immunization is estimated to provide returns of $44 in economic and social benefits. In regards to AMR, vaccines can help to:
- Reduce the use of antibiotics by preventing bacterial infections before they occur, thus removing any need to treat the infection. Increasing access to vaccines such as pneumococcal and meningococcal conjugate can decrease infection rates and consequently antibiotic use
- Reduce the prevalence of viral infections, which are often inappropriately treated with antibiotics and can give rise to secondary infections that require antibiotic treatment. Immunization against viral influenza can reduce antibiotic use by as much as 64% in vaccinated individuals[ii]
- Reduce the number of infections in the population through direct protection of vaccinated individuals and by reducing carriage (the infection of an individual without causing symptoms), thus limiting the spread of infections within a community (herd immunity)
- Limit the spread of AMR organisms within and across communities by reducing the volume of visits to healthcare points of care, especially hospitals, which are themselves a source of infection
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