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Advancing Science for Global Health
Advancing Science for Global Health
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20 million children worldwide missing essential vaccines

July / August 2019 | Volume 18, Number 4

Close up of adult holding completed vaccination card, labeled carnet de vacunacion, above young child.
Photo courtesy of PAHO

20 million children worldwide - more than 1 in 10 - missed out on lifesaving vaccines such as measles, diphtheria and tetanus in 2018, according to new data from WHO and UNICEF. Globally, since 2010, vaccination coverage with three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) and one dose of the measles vaccine has stalled at around 86%. While high, this is not sufficient, according to the report. Ninety-five percent coverage is needed - globally, across countries and communities - to protect against outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Vaccines are one of our most important tools for preventing outbreaks and keeping the world safe,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “While most children today are being vaccinated, far too many are left behind. Unacceptably, it’s often those who are most at risk - the poorest, the most marginalized, those touched by conflict or forced from their homes - who are persistently missed.”

Most unvaccinated children live in the poorest countries, and are disproportionately in fragile or conflict-affected states. Almost half are in just 16 countries: Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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