News

World Immunization Week: A Moment to Celebrate, Push Forward

This World Immunization Week, ACTION celebrates the incredible role immunizations have played in the fight to prevent child deaths, and calls upon technical partners, donors, country governments, the private sector, and civil society to equitably extend the benefits of immunization to every child with a package of essential services.

Immunizations prevent between 2 and 3 million deaths each year, and prevent millions of cases of disease and suffering. Vaccines are not only cost-effective, but have led to some of the fastest advances in child health. Between 2000 and 2011, measles – once a leading killer of children – has seen a 71% reduction in deaths as a result of expanding coverage of the measles vaccine.[1] Polio is on the verge of eradication. The GAVI Alliance’s support to the world’s poorest countries has averted over 5.5 million future deaths since 2000. Furthermore, immunization is the backbone of primary health systems, and a launch pad for delivering other lifesaving services.

While we celebrate the incredible progress in raising immunization coverage to 83% globally, we are reminded of the 22.4 million children who miss out on basic vaccines each year, and millions more who lack access to new vaccines.[2] Currently available vaccines could prevent 17% of all under five deaths,[3]  while new vaccines against pneumococcal diseases and rotavirus still fail to reach 70-83% of children worldwide.[4]

In this decade of vaccines, opportunities to expand access to new and basic vaccines are unprecedented, while political will and funding for routine immunizations threatens to lose momentum. Urgent action is therefore needed to ensure every child, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, is reached.[5]

ACTION calls on technical partners, donors, the private sector, country governments, and civil society to:

  1. Ensure the equitable access to vaccines for all people
  2. Promote true country ownership and Global Vaccine Action Plan implementation
  3. Advocate for sustainable financing of routine vaccination systems.
  4. Promote greater emphasis on reducing vaccine prices while ensuring a high quality, robust supply.
  5. Strengthen health systems specifically with a focus on the primary health care system

In addition, ACTION calls on all stakeholders to fully implement the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), and expand holistic approaches to maternal and child health that address the leading underlying causes of child illness and death, such as malnutrition.

World Immunization Week is an opportunity to promote not only the power of vaccines, but to catalyze the urgent action needed to unite all child health efforts under one umbrella to ensure every child – especially the poorest and most vulnerable – are reached.

Join us to take action this week by:

  1. Writing a letter to your government. Find out how.
  2. Meeting with your member of congress or parliament. Read our tips.
  3. Raise awareness in your community.
  4. Express your opinion in your local newspaper. Read our guidelines.
  5. Produce a video or write a blog. Share it with us @ACTION_tweets.
  6. Participate in community events. Find a list of events in your community.

*********

For more information, contact Alison Root, Senior Associate (aroot at results.org) or Angela Pereira, Senior Communications Associate (apereira at results.org).


[3] WHO, 2008. Vaccine Preventable Diseases. http://www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/diseases/en/

[4] Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). March 2013. VIMS Report: Global Vaccine Introduction. http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/ivac/vims/IVAC-VIMS-Report-2013-03.pdf

[5] UNICEF, 19 April 2013. Press Release: Political support crucial to reach ‘the fifth child’ with vaccineswww.unicef.org/media/media_68809.html