Panafrican News Agency

UNICEF says record number of children vaccinated in 2017

New York, US (PANA) - A record 123 million children were immunized globally in 2017, according to data released on Monday by the World Health Organization and UN children's Fund (UNICEF).

A statement by UNICEF said the data shows that 9 out of every 10 children received at least one dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine in 2017, gaining protection against these deadly diseases and an additional 4.6 million infants were vaccinated globally in 2017 with three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine compared to 2010.

The data also showed that 167 countries included a second dose of measles vaccine as part of their routine vaccination schedule; 162 countries now use rubella vaccines and global coverage against rubella has increased from 35 per cent in 2010 to 52 per cent; the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in 80 countries to help protect women against cervical cancer; and additional vaccines are being included into the immunization schedule, such as new formulations of meningitis and polio vaccines

The statement said despite these successes, almost 20 million children did not receive the benefits of full immunization in 2017.

Of these, almost 8 million (40 per cent) live in fragile or humanitarian settings, including countries affected by conflict. In addition, a growing share are from middle-income countries, where inequity and marginalization, particularly among the urban poor, prevent many from getting immunized.

"As populations grow, more countries need to increase their investments in immunization programmes. To reach all children with much-needed vaccines, the world will need to vaccinate an estimated 20 million additional children every year with three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP3); 45 million with a second dose of measles vaccine; and 76 million children with 3 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine."

The statement said in support of these efforts, WHO and UNICEF are working to expand access to immunization by strengthening the quality, availability and use of vaccine coverage data; better targeting resources; planning actions at sub-national levels; and ensuring that vulnerable people can access vaccination services.
-0- PANA MA/VAO 16July2018