Routine vaccination reaching four in five children - WHO

Geneva, Switzerland (PANA) - Four in five children (83%) worldwide received the recommended three doses of diphtheria–tetanus–pertussis (DTP) vaccine during infancy in 2011, according to new data being released in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) Friday.

According to the World Health Organisation, the new data show sustained progress from the previous two years, and a significant achievement from when WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was originally started nearly 40 years ago.  

At that time, fewer than 5% of the world’s children were being vaccinated against these three deadly diseases.

Achieving DTP vaccination of children before the age of 1 is one of the most important indicators of how effective vaccination programmes are in reaching children with life-saving vaccines.

While substantial progress has been made since EPI was established, the new data show more than 22 million children, mostly living in less-developed countries, missed out on the three basic vaccinations during their first year of life in 2011.

About half of all incompletely vaccinated children live in one of three countries: India, Indonesia and Nigeria. These countries have large child populations and their immunization programmes are hampered by occasional problems with vaccine supply and inaccessibility of vulnerable populations.

In May 2012, Ministers of Health from 194 countries at the World Health Assembly endorsed a landmark Global Vaccine Action Plan, a road map to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities.

The Plan involves four mutually reinforcing goals: strengthening routine immunisation to meet vaccination coverage targets; accelerating control of vaccine-preventable diseases;introducing new and improved vaccines; and spurring research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies.

An estimated 130 million infants are born around the world each year. Vaccinating these children to protect them from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis) as well as measles, polio, and other preventable diseases is vital to keeping them alive and healthy.

WHO estimates that immunisations avert between 2 and 3 million deaths in all age groups each year.
-0- PANA SEG 2Nov2012

02 november 2012 12:18:48

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