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.
In 2012, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), a commitment to ensure that no one misses out on vital immunizations. Despite gains in vaccination coverage in some regions and countries the past year, global vaccination targets remain off track.
Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011 – 2020
The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) ― endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 ― is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities.
GVAP aims to strengthen routine immunization to meet vaccination coverage targets; accelerate control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone; introduce new and improved vaccines and spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies.
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