Help Stop Disease in Its Tracks
Immunization remains one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions. Since 1980, UNICEF has helped quadruple immunization rates for children worldwide, saving as many as 3 million young lives every year. That's more than five lives saved every minute of every day.
As a direct result of immunization, polio is on the verge of being eradicated. All but 12 countries have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, a centuries-old disease that is almost always fatal in newborns. And vaccination is the world's best chance at defeating COVID-19.
Despite progress by UNICEF and partners, however, millions of children globally continue to miss out on lifesaving vaccines. In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis disrupted routine immunization services for millions of children in dozens of countries.
Even when vaccines are available, the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate affects coverage, opening the door to new outbreaks. Vaccine hesitancy — named one of the top ten threats to public health by the World Health Organization — has been blamed for a global resurgence of measles, including in high- and middle-income countries.
Why aren't kids getting the immunizations they need to survive and thrive?
- Conflict, displacement and poverty keep some of the most vulnerable children from getting the vaccines that can protect them from diseases such as measles, whooping cough and pneumonia.
- Fear of vaccines can prevent families from getting the help they need. UNICEF deploys community mobilizers to educate and reassure families, and debunk myths and misinformation.
Why are immunizations one of the most cost-effective public health investments?
- Immunizations provide a foundation for good health at the start of life, and put children on a path toward a healthier, more productive future.
- Every dollar spent vaccinating kids yields an estimated $44 in economic and social benefits in low- and middle-income countries.
- As the world's largest procurer of vaccines, UNICEF leverages its market power to keep costs low.
We’re most protected from deadly diseases when we are all protected together.