KARACHI: Immunization averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles, according to a WHO report.
Global vaccination coverage—the proportion of the world’s children who receive recommended vaccines—has remained steady for the past few years. For example, the percentage of infants fully vaccinated against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) has held steady at 83% for the last three years.
During 2012, about 110.6 million infants worldwide got three doses of DTP3 vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal. By 2012, 131 countries had reached at least 90% coverage of DTP3.
In 2012, an estimated 22.6 million infants worldwide were not reached with routine immunization services, of whom more than half live in three countries: India, Indonesia and Nigeria.
Priority needs to be given to strengthening routine vaccination globally, especially in the countries that are home to the highest number of unvaccinated children. Particular efforts are needed to reach the underserved, especially those in remote areas, in deprived urban settings, in fragile states and strife-torn regions.
WHO is working with countries and partners to improve global vaccination coverage, including through these initiatives adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2012.
The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) is a roadmap to prevent millions of deaths through more equitable access to vaccines. Countries are aiming to achieve vaccination coverage of ?90% nationally and ?80% in every district by 2020. While the GVAP should accelerate control of all vaccine-preventable diseases, polio eradication is set as the first milestone. It also aims to spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines.
The theme of World Immunization Week 2014 is “Are you up-to-date?” and encourages people to find out what vaccines are available, check their vaccination status, and get the vaccines they need.