Immunization

The big picture

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© UNICEF/HQ02-0238/Geenen
After receiving their individual vaccinations against measles, children wave their campaign cards showing that they have been immunized.

One child dies every 20 seconds from a disease preventable by vaccine.

Children in remote rural regions and impoverished areas of cities in poor and emerging countries are not being vaccinated.

More than seventy per cent of the world’s unimmunized children live in only 10 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia. Large populations and fragile immunization structures make these children difficult to reach.

Along with remote location and weak health services, lack of education and conflict can prevent children from getting the vaccinations they need to survive and thrive. Many developing countries also have inadequate ‘cold chains’ – meaning optimal temperature control for the transport, storage and handling of vaccines. Or, they are not able to manage vaccine stocks effectively, leading to insufficient vaccine supply to immunize all children.

New vaccines, like the ones against the viruses that spread pneumonia and severe diarrhea (pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccine) are still too expensive for many countries to afford – even in middle-income countries.

UNICEF leads global efforts to immunize the hardest to reach children. UNICEF’s immunization programmes focus on: 

  • Expanding immunization coverage and vaccinating the hard to reach
  • Purchasing vaccines for more than a third of the world’s children
  • Improving the cold chain to keep vaccines at a constant cool temperature
  • Engaging communities to explain the importance of child vaccinations
  • Supporting the eradication of polio
  • Working towards a world without measles, rubella and neonatal tetanus
  • Introducing powerful new vaccines that disproportionately affect children in developing countries


 

 


 

 

Immunization as a priority for UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the worldwide use of immunization and vitamin A supplementation as effective means of achieving international goals: one-third reduction of the under-five mortality rates by 2010 and the Millenium Development Goal of two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality by 2015.

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