1. About 10 million children under the age of five die every year worldwide. One quarter of these deaths are caused by diseases that can be prevented with vaccines.
2. Immunisation currently saves between 2 and 3 million lives per year. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions.
3. In 2006, the number of children under the age of one vaccinated with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine exceeded – for the first time – 100 million. These children are protected against infectious diseases that can have serious consequences like illness, disability or death.
4. But another 26 million children under the age of one did not receive the DTP3 vaccine doses in 2006. Three quarters of these unimmunised children live in 10 countries of Africa and Asia — Angola, Bangladesh, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Niger, Nigeria and Pakistan.
5. On average 1.3 million infants and young children die every year from pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhoea. A large number of these deaths can be prevented through vaccination.
6. Major breakthroughs are now occurring worldwide in the development of new vaccines. There are about 20 vaccines currently in use. Another 20 new or improved vaccines are expected to be available by 2015.
7. The Meningitis Vaccine Project is working on a new meningococcal vaccine. Meningitis A epidemics severely affect certain sub-Saharan countries. A first-generation malaria vaccine has also demonstrated some level of efficacy in young children and may be available by 2015.
8. Vaccination has led to measles being eliminated from the WHO Region of the Americas. Global measles mortality has decreased by 68% – from 757 000 deaths in 2000 to 242 000 deaths in 2006. The biggest improvement occurred in Africa, where number of deaths fell by 91% from about 396 000 to 36 000.
9. Since the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, the worldwide incidence of poliomyelitis has dropped by 99%, from 350 000 cases reported in 1988 to 1 300 cases in 2007.
10. Immunisation not only protects children from vaccine-preventable diseases. It also serves as a means to deliver other life-saving measures, such as vitamin A supplements to prevent malnutrition, insecticide-treated nets for protection against malaria and deworming medicine for intestinal worms.
Source: World Health Organisation