Immunization

A day old baby gets vaccinated at the Shabnam Nursing home ward in Sangam Vihar (India 2012)
India
UNICEF/INDA2012-00435/SANDEEP BISWAS

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, the world is closer than ever to eradicating polio, with only three remaining polio-endemic countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. And all but 12 countries have eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, a disease that kills 7 out of 10 newborns; 30,000 in 2017 alone. 

Despite UNICEF's progress, millions of children worldwide missed out on routine vaccinations in 2018. Under-vaccination is concentrated in 64 UNICEF priority countries, affecting 16.7 million children. The World Health Organization named the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines one of the top ten threats to public health in 2019. Vaccine hesitancy caused an alarming global surge of measles outbreaks in 2018, including in high- and middle-income countries. 

The promise of vaccines is great. If all children were fully immunized, 1.5 million lives could be saved.

Pledge to support vaccines and mass immunization around the world, because vaccines work.

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. 

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 helped drive down the costs of immunization in 2011 by publishing the price it pays for every vaccine.

We’re most protected from deadly diseases when we are all protected together. 

Learn more about efforts by UNICEF and its partners to improve immunization rates globally, and stop disease in its tracks.

Fast Fact

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