WHO global health days

Campaign essentials

World Immunization Week 2013: Protect your world - get vaccinated

Key messages

Immunization saves lives

  • Immunization prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including diphtheria, measles, pertussis, pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.
  • Preventive vaccination can protect populations from disease during outbreaks, including after natural disasters.
  • During some immunization campaigns, health workers provide protection against other diseases. They provide bednets to protect against malaria and vitamin A tablets to support growth and help combat infections in children.

Protect your world – get vaccinated

  • Vaccines have the power not only to save but also to transform lives, giving children a chance to grow up healthy, go to school and improve their life prospects.
  • The benefits of vaccines are much greater than the minimal risks. Most side-effects are minor and temporary.

Facts and figures

Immunization prevents between two and three million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and measles.

An estimated 83% of infants worldwide received the recommended three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine in 2011 (see Figure 1 for coverage estimates).

In 2008, nearly 17% of the 8.8 million deaths in children under five were vaccine-preventable

WHO: Immunization monitoring

About 22.4 million infants did not receive the recommended three doses of diphtheriatetanus-pertussis vaccine in 2011. More than 70% of these children live in ten countries: Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa. More than half of them live in just three countries (India, Nigeria and Indonesia).

In 2008, nearly 17% of the 8.8 million deaths in children under five were vaccine-preventable (see Figure 2 for causes).

The world is closer to polio eradication than ever before. Polio is endemic in just three countries. Eradicating polio will save an estimated US$ 50 billion over the next 20 years, mostly in developing countries.

The number of deaths from measles decreased globally by 71% between 2000 and 2011, from an estimated 548 000 to 158 000. In 2011, large outbreaks were reported in both highincome and low-income countries. WHO recommends two doses of the measles-containing vaccine to ensure immunity and prevent outbreaks.

By the end of 2011, hepatitis B vaccine had been introduced into routine national childhood vaccination schedules in 93% of countries. About half (52%) of these countries were following the WHO recommendation of giving a first dose within 24 hours of birth.

By the end of 2011, Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine had been introduced in 91% of countries, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in 37% of countries and rotavirus vaccine in 16% of countries.

By the end of 2011, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine had been introduced in 43 countries. WHO recommends that HPV vaccines are introduced as part of a coordinated strategy to prevent cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases.

Figure 1 Global and regional vaccination coverage estimates for three doses of diphtheriatetanus-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, 2011

WHO/UNICEF coverage estimates: http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/routine/immunization_coverage/en

Figure 2 Deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases in children under five years

WHO: http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/Global_Immunization_Data.pdf