1. Infant Immunization Rates Continue to Fall Short
The percentage of children who receive full-course immunizations remains stagnant at 86%, as 12.9 million infants went unvaccinated in 2016, according to WHO and UNICEF. Since 2010, that percentage has remained stationary and continues to fall short of the global immunization coverage target of 90%. Data indicate that 64 of 194 countries fell short of meeting the 90% standard, which would require an additional 10 million children from these countries to be vaccinated. Over 70% of these children live in nations dominated by conflict and humanitarian issues.
"Most of the children that remain un-immunized are the same ones missed by health systems," says Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO, in a press release. "These children most likely have also not received any of the other basic health services. If we are to raise the bar on global immunization coverage, health services must reach the unreached. Every contact with the health system must be seen as an opportunity to immunize."
Pakistan, for example, remains a polio-endemic country, despite mandatory polio vaccination since 1978. Although the last case of polio in the United States occurred in 1978, Pakistan reported 20 cases of the virus in 2016, according to WHO. Polio has also recently sprung up in war-torn Syria, with health officials vigorously working to launch a major vaccination campaign to quell the outbreak. The polio virus has been eliminated from most of the world and has the potential to be eradicated entirely, with increased vaccination rates.
Continue reading about infant immunizations, here
To stay informed on the latest in infectious disease news and developments, please sign up for our weekly newsletter.