Significant progress has been made in reaching more children than ever before with life-saving vaccines, but around 1.5 million children still die from vaccine preventable diseases every year. This is unacceptable in a world where safe, affordable life-savings vaccines exist.
It's World Immunisation Week this 24th - 30th April. Have a look at the way immunisations have changed the world, and what still needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable children.
Vaccines protect children against disease and death, saving up to three million lives every year.
Baby Pa Yao Wang (above) has just received an oral vaccine to protect her from polio.
The world is closer than ever before to eradicating polio. Since 1988, 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated against polio, and the number of cases has fallen by more than 99 percent, with just 22 in 2017!
That’s millions of children, just like little Pa Yao, growing up happy and healthy and safe from this terrible disease.
Vaccination acts as a shield, keeping families and communities safe. By vaccinating our children and ourselves, we are also protecting the most vulnerable members of our community.
Unicef health worker Sajeda is vaccinating 13 week-old Mohammed against a number of diseases including diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus.
Newborn babies are particularly at risk from low vaccination levels, as they are too young to be vaccinated against many deadly diseases. Over 190,000 newborns died in 2016 from pneumonia, tetanus and meningitis/encephalitis.
But thanks to regular vaccinations administered by staff like Sajeda, millions of children are prevented from dying every year.
Despite the benefits of vaccination, millions of young children around the world are missing out
In Kiribati, where baby Tate lives, one in eighteen children die before their fifth birthday, often from preventable illnesses
Every year, almost 20 million infants miss out on the benefits of full vaccination, and every year, an estimated 1.5 million children under five die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Because of the vaccinations she’d already received, Baby Tate was better able to fight off a recent bout of sickness that could easily have killed her. One small ouch = a big lifesaver!
Investing in vaccines makes economic sense
In Côte d’ivoire, five-year-old Kelly is being vaccinated against polio during a mobile vaccination campaign. It’s a way of ensuring children get access to healthcare they otherwise wouldn’t be able to travel to.
Immunisation is free for children below one year old in Côte d’Ivoire, but because of distance and isolation, three out of five children don’t get vaccinated before their first birthday.
The cost of a vaccine, often less than US $1, pales in comparison to the cost of treating a sick child or fighting a disease outbreak.
Unicef is helping ensure children like Kelly have access to all the vaccines they need so that they can stay healthy in the years to come!
UNICEF envisions a world where no child dies from a preventable cause
Before the current crisis, Syria’s immunisation rates were some of the best in the region. Because of the ongoing conflict started, those rates plummeted. But thanks to a nationwide immnunisation campaign, three-year-old Rahaf is now safe from the potentially deadly measles virus.
The cost of a vaccine, often less than US $1, pales in comparison to the cost of treating a sick child or fighting a disease outbreak. Between 2000 and 2016, UNICEF worked with governments and partners to vaccinate more than 1.9 billion children around the world.
For children like Rahaf, it’s one less thing to have to worry about.
Our family of Global Parents are there for children, whenever they need us, wherever they are. From delivering life-saving vaccines to millions of children, to building safe drinking water wells, providing nutritious food to malnourished babies, and creating safe spaces to play and learn for children in conflict zones, they’re always there with us.
You can join our community of committed Global Parents and make a huge difference for children around the world. Click here to learn more.