Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Immunization highlights: 2011

Global trends in immunization

More children are being reached with immunization

In 2010, about 109 million infants worldwide were vaccinated with three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine. These children are protected against a number of infectious diseases that can have serious consequences in terms of illness and disability or can be fatal.

More countries achieve high levels of vaccination coverage

The number of countries reaching 90% or more DTP3 coverage in 2010 was 130, compared with 123 in 2009.

However, the number of countries reaching over 80% DTP3 coverage remained at 157 in 2009 and 2010.

Access to new and underused vaccines is increasing

The number of countries using specific vaccines by the end of 2010 was:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines: 27
  • Pneumococcal vaccines: 55
  • Rotavirus vaccines: 28
  • Rubella vaccines: 131
  • Yellow fever vaccines: 36 countries and territories (out of the 45 at risk for yellow fever in Africa and the Americas)

Challenges remain

Despite these successes, the immunization agenda has not been fulfilled, and unprecedented opportunities and challenges lie ahead.

An estimated 19.3 million infants worldwide are still not being reached by routine immunization services. Nearly seventy percent of these children live in ten countries:

  • Afghanistan,
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo,
  • Ethiopia,
  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Iraq,
  • Nigeria,
  • Pakistan,
  • South Africa and
  • Uganda

Priority needs to be given to strengthening routine vaccination globally, especially in the countries that are home to the highest number of unvaccinated children.

Decade of Vaccines

Despite the improvements in the global coverage of routine vaccination during the past decade, there continue to be regional and local disparities in vaccination coverage resulting from:

  • limited resources;
  • competing health priorities;
  • poor management of health systems; and
  • inadequate monitoring and supervision.

Recognizing that vaccination is one of the most cost-effective means of preventing disease, the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration, a partnership of international agencies working in immunization was launched. The collaboration is developing a global action plan for vaccination that focuses on increasing vaccine delivery and expanding global access to vaccines, enhancing public and political support for vaccines and vaccination programmes, and promoting vaccine-related research and development.

In addition to ensuring that all children are fully vaccinated, strengthening routine vaccination programmes will also provide the infrastructure and platform to sustain the success of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the Measles-Elimination Initiative, to introduce new and underutilized vaccines, and to implement other high priority interventions aimed at improving children’s health. The global action plan will be presented to Member States at the May 2012 World Health Assembly for discussion and endorsement.

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