Day 56 – Immunizing the World’s Children

WHO: Immunization is one of modern medicine’s greatest success stories. Not only do vaccinations prevent sickness and death associated with infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles, pneumonia, polio and whooping cough, they also hold up broader gains in education and economic development. Immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year.

  • Measles vaccinations averted an estimated 23.2 million deaths between 2000 and 2018
  • The number of children paralyzed by polio has fallen by more than 99% since 1988, from 350,000 to fewer than 200 cases at the end of 2019

Unicef: Vaccines now protect more children than ever before, but in 2019, approximately 14 million infants did not receive any vaccines. Low immunization levels among poor and marginalized children compromise gains made in all other areas of maternal and child health. Over 1.5 million people die annually from diseases that can be prevented by vaccination.

Immunization is the most cost-effective child health intervention. Every dollar spent on childhood immunizations yields US$44 in economic benefits. These include savings on medical costs and productivity loss.

The vaccinating of children was the impetus from which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.6 billion to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to deliver lifesaving vaccines to the world’s poorest countries. The Foundation’-s contribution will enable the Alliance to reach an additional 300 million children in the world’s most vulnerable communities and save up to eight million lives, bringing the total number of children immunized with Gavi support to more than one billion since its inception in 2000.

Created in 2000, Gavi is an international organization — a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a wealth of information for parents and health professionals about vaccines for children and adults including:

Our World in Data publishes lots of interesting data and informative charts on the history and prevalence of various diseases and pathogens as well as the efficacy of vaccinations to combat them.