21 April 2016 | Geneva - During World Immunization Week 2016, held 24-30 April, WHO highlights recent gains in immunization coverage, and outlines further steps countries can take to “Close the Immunization Gap” and meet global vaccination targets by 2020.
“Last year immunization led to some notable wins in the fight against polio, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “But they were isolated wins. Polio was eliminated in 1 country, tetanus in 3, and rubella in 1 geographical region. The challenge now is to make gains like this the norm.”
Immunization averts 2 to 3 million deaths annually; however, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves. Today, an estimated 18.7 million infants – nearly 1 in 5 children – worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.
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