WHO and UNICEF has released the data for the number of children vaccinated in 2017. And reassuringly, a total of 123 million kids have been immunised globally in the past year. Vaccination of immunisation can protect human beings against 25 different illnesses of an infectious nature and can improve their lifespan. And according to WHO data, immunisation saves 2 to 3 million lives every year, saving them from diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertussis, polio and tetanus.
But sadly, the efforts of governments and intergovernmental organisations to immunise children have been impeded by challenges such as lack of awareness, geographical constraints and conflicts. That’s why, the latest revelation by WHO has been reassuring for the medical world. The data also discloses the following points:
• 9 out of 10 infants have received at least one dose of DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccine in 2017. This means they are protected against these deadly diseases.
• As compared to 2010, 4.6 million infants more were vaccinated globally in 2017.
• A total of 167 countries added a second dose of measles vaccine to their routine vaccination schedule.
• Rubella vaccines have been used by 162 countries. Global coverage against rubella has increased to 52 percent from 35 percent in 2010.
• HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine has been introduced in 80 countries to protect women against cervical cancer.
• Additional vaccines will be include into the vaccination routine, including new formulations for polio and meningitis.
Despite the many strides, WHO informs that almost 20 million newborns didn’t receive complete immunisation in 2017 since they were not given the three doses of DTP vaccination. Around 8 million or 40 percent of the children are denied the full benefits of vaccination since they belong to marginalised sections of the society.
WHO and UNICEF recommends that countries increase their investment in immunisation programmes so that the benefits of vaccination reach all the children from all around the world. Twenty million additional children need to be reached out to every year who need to be given three doses of DTP vaccine. Forty five million need to be given a second dose of measles vaccine. And 76 million children should receive three doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
To bolster the efforts, WHO and UNICEF will improve access to immunisation by upgrading the quality, availability and use of vaccine coverage data; targeting resources better; ensuring that the needy can receive vaccination services and planning at sub-national levels.