The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that progress towards global vaccination for 2015 is still off-track, with one in five children still not receiving routine life-saving immunizations. More than 1.5 million deaths could have been prevented with these simple vaccinations. DoveMed published an earlier article showing how some diseases could have been avoided with vaccinations. Now, WHO is making a call to bring the vaccinations back on track.
WHO particularly wants to eradicate diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus and believes that these disabilities and deaths are unnecessary and occur due to lack of vaccinations. Nearly 22 million babies did not receive the mandatory three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccines (DTP3) in 2013. Many of those infants lived in one of the world’s poorest countries. WHO is calling for an end to the unnecessary disabilities and deaths caused by the failure to vaccinate.
The global push for vaccinations started in the 1970s with the establishment of the Expanded Programme on Immunization in all countries. Vaccination levels started from as little as 5 percent to more than 80 percent in many countries by 2013. WHO estimates that immunizations today prevent 2 to 3 million deaths each year and more people from illness and disability.
The Global Vaccine Action Plan recommends three crucial steps for increasing immunizations:
- Incorporate vaccination with other health services (e.g. postnatal care for mothers and babies.)
- Strengthen health systems to give continuous vaccines.
- Ensure vaccines are affordable and accessible.
The Global Vaccine Action Plan set six goals for 2015 in order to have access to preventable diseases by 2020.
Immunization against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP3)
65 countries must have 90 percent immunization coverage against diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough by 2015.
Introduction of under-utilized vaccines
Have at least 90 low or middle-income countries introduce one or more underutilized vaccines by 2015.
Have no new cases after 2014. Three countries remain polio endemic.
Maternal and neonatal tetanus: Global elimination by end-2015
Eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in 24 countries.
Eliminate from three WHO regions by end-2015. Currently, 16 percent of all children are not being vaccinated against measles.
Eliminate rubella from two WHO regions by end-2015. Half of all children do not receive the rubella vaccine.
Global vaccination targets 'off-track' warns WHO. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/global-vaccination-targets/en/