Worldwide, 12.9 million infants, nearly 1 in 10, did not receive any vaccinations in 2016, according to the most recent WHO and UNICEF immunization estimates. This means, critically, that these infants missed the first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP)-containing vaccine, putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases.
Additionally, an estimated 6.6 million infants who did receive their first dose of DTP-containing vaccine did not complete the full, three dose DTP immunization series (DTP3) in 2016. Since 2010, the percentage of children who received their full course of routine immunizations has stalled at 86% (116.5 million infants), with no significant changes in any countries or regions during the past year. This falls short of the global immunization coverage target of 90%.
“Most of the children that remain un-immunized are the same ones missed by health systems,” says Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO. “These children most likely have also not received any of the other basic health services. If we are to raise the bar on global immunization coverage, health services must reach the unreached. Every contact with the health system must be seen as an opportunity to immunize.”
Immunization currently prevents between 2–3 million deaths every year, from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions.
Read more at World Health Organization
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