April 24 to 30 is celebrated as World Immunization Week each year. This is the second year of a multi-year campaign based on the theme ‘Close the Immunization Gap’.
Immunization prevents an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles.
However, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves.
Today, an estimated 18.7 million infants – nearly 1 in 5 children – worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.
More than 60% of children who are unvaccinated live in 10 countries:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo,
- Uganda and
- South Africa.
Global vaccination coverage—the proportion of the world’s children who receive recommended vaccines—has remained steady for the past few years.
By 2014, 129 countries had reached at least 90% coverage of DTP3 vaccine.
During 2014, about 86% (115 million) of infants worldwide received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal.
By the end of 2014, 85% of children had received 1 dose of measles vaccine by their second birthday, and 154 countries had included a second dose as part of routine immunization.
In 2014, 86% of infants around the world received 3 doses of polio vaccine.
In 2015, India joined Cambodia, Madagascar and Mauritania in eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus. It also improved coverage of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccines (DTP3) to 83%.
Last year, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) identified 5 factors to achieving significant results in immunization coverage:
- quality and use of data
- community involvement
- better access to immunization services for marginalized and displaced populations
- strong health systems
- access to vaccines in all places at all times
Link to Fact sheet on immunization (March 2016):
Link to WHO’s Press Release (21 April 2016):
Link to WHO’s World Immunization Week 2016 web page:
Link to WHO’s infographic on immunization (English) [PDF]:
Link to the campaign toolkit (English) [PDF]:
Link to WHO’s web page containing campaign materials for world immunization week 2016:
Link to Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020 (English version will download automatically instead of opening in a new tab):
Link to Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020 (French) [PDF]:
Link to Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020 (Spanish) [PDF]:
Link to Short Quiz on immunization: