Immunisation coverage reaches 84% globally, Africa and South-East Asia worst performers

Estimates short of goal of 90 per cent coverage for all vaccines by 2020

By Vani Manocha
Published: Monday 21 July 2014

World Health Organization (WHO)

More than 111 million infants received vaccines in 2013 to protect them from deadly diseases. This has been stated in the new estimates from World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

These infants account for about 84 per cent of the world’s children, but an estimated 21.8 million infants remained unvaccinated. The numbers also mean that global coverage with vaccines, measured by the proportion of kids who received three doses of vaccines for diphtheria tetanus-pertussis (DTP3), substantially rose from 73 per cent in 2000 to 84 per cent in 2013. But the estimates are still short of the goal of 90 per cent coverage for all vaccines, by 2020, set to prevent millions of deaths through more equitable access to vaccines.

According to coverage statistics available at WHO’s website, the health agencies will have to reach 9.3 million more children to achieve the target of 90 per cent immunisation.  “We face a challenge in closing the gap between 84 per cent and 90 per cent,” said Michel Zaffran, Coordinator of WHO’s Expanded Programme on Immunization.

Developing countries with percentage of districts achieving at least 80 per cent DTP3 coverage, 2012

WHO/UNICEF coverage estimates 2012 revision, July 2013

South-East Asia and Africa lag behind

The immunisation coverage, in WHO regions, was maximum in Western Pacific (96 per cent), European Region (96 per cent) and the Region of Americas (90 per cent). At 75 per cent, the coverage was lowest in the African region and slightly better in South-East Asia Region (77 per cent) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (82 per cent).

“The countries have succeeded in maintaining a high level of vaccination coverage while, at the same time, introducing new vaccines and immunising an increasing number of children born each year. However, it is hard for them to reach all children, including those in remote areas or in urban slums,” added the WHO coordinator.

About 22.6 million infants globally did not receive DTP3 immunisation. Out of these, maximum were again from Africa while Europe was the region where most of the children had been given immunisation. 

On Hepatitis B3 coverage, the reports suggest that by 2012, 181 countries, of the 191 member states across the world had introduced the vaccine against the disease and that the coverage among infants was 80 per cent. Progress in polio eradication was another highlight among the estimates produced by the international health agency. While in 1985 the number of reported cases of polio stood around 30,000 globally, cases dropped to 2,971 in 2012and 293 in 2012.
The data used in these estimates comes from official reports by national authorities as well as survey data from the published and grey literature.


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