FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

High vaccination rates still fall short of WHO goal

The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund recently released data showing that more than 111 million infants worldwide received vaccines in 2013.

The infants account for 84 percent of the world's children, although 21.8 million infants went unvaccinated. The numbers fall short of the goal set by the World Health Assembly's Global Vaccine Action Plan, which has a target of 90 percent coverage for all vaccines by 2020, according to a WHO press release.

"We face a challenge in closing the gap between 84% and 90%," Michel Zaffran, the coordinator of WHO's Expanded Programme on Immunization, said. "The countries have succeeded in maintaining a high level of vaccination coverage while, at the same time, introducing new vaccines and immunizing 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."

Three WHO regions reported very high immunization coverage for children: the European Region and the Western Pacific both had a 96 percent immunization rate and the Region of the Americas had 90 percent.

By contrast, the South-East Asia Region had a 77 percent immunization rate, while the Africa Region was at 75 percent.

The data used in the estimates comes from official reports from national authorities, as well as survey data.