Fact Sheets

The Power of Vaccines

ACTION Vaccine Fact Sheet

Why does ACTION advocate for vaccines?


Vaccines save lives. Approximately 2.5 million lives per year, that is. Vaccines provide people lifelong protection against devastating illnesses and when distributed equitably, keep people from getting sick and falling into poverty. On top of all this, vaccines are cheap to administer!

In the 1980s, there was a lot of momentum to provide vaccines to everyone around the world. But that momentum stagnated. More recently, an influx of new life-saving vaccines have become available—but people need to access them.

Seeing a need for advocacy, in 2011 ACTION got involved. Since then, we’ve been working to influence governments around the world to provide the resources and leadership needed to make vaccinations available to everybody—especially the poor, who otherwise would have no access.

Why should I care about vaccines?


No child should have to die. Yet each year 1.5 million children die from diseases that could have been prevented with vaccines.1  These needless deaths are a profound loss of human potential.

New vaccines have recently become available that prevent pneumonia and severe diarrhea caused by rotavirus—two of the leading killers of children under five. Together, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines can prevent almost 3.9 million child deaths by 2015.

Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective ways to improve our well-being. In 2008, a group of the world’s leading economists ranked “expanded immunization coverage for children” as the 4th most cost-effective solution to the most pressing global challenges.2

In addition to saving lives, expanding vaccine coverage in the world’s 72 poorest countries would save $151 billion in treatment and lost productivity. The economic benefits of expanding vaccination coverage outweigh the costs by a factor of 3 to 18, depending on the country.3

What does ACTION do to increase people’s access to vaccines?

Mobilize resources. We influence decision-makers in governments—the ones who have their hands on the purse-strings—to provide resources that are used to purchase and administer vaccines to millions of people in countries where the needs are greatest.

Shape policy. We work to shape the policies of governments and international institutions so that vaccines are distributed equitably. In other words, we help to ensure that even the poorest of the poor gain access to vaccines that can prevent illness and save their lives.

Raise the profile. Even though vaccines are a life-or-death issue, they’re usually not the first thing on people’s minds when they wake up every day. To help inform people that vaccines are an important issue requiring urgent action, we engage the media with newsworthy information and cultivate champions who help spread the word.


 1 World Health Organization, 2012.
 2 Copenhagen Consensus Center, 2008.
 3 Ozawa S, et al., 2011. During The ‘Decade Of Vaccines,’ The Lives Of 6.4 Million Children Valued At $231 Billion Could Be Saved. Health Affairs, 30(6):1010-20.