Today starts World Immunization Week which is a time to reflect on the major accomplishments we’ve seen on routine vaccinations of children worldwide, but also to look critically at the challenges that children face who are still not fully immunized.
This year the World Health Organization is calling upon the global health community, governments, civil society, and other key actors to close the gap for under-immunized children. Today immunizations curb 2 – 3 million child deaths from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. each year, but that number of saved lives can be larger. Today 84 percent of children have received three doses of the DPT vaccine, but a whopping 21.8 million infants do not have complete vaccines, that is 1 in 5 children who still lack all of their basic vaccines.
“World Immunization Week creates a focused global platform to reinvigorate our collective efforts to ensure vaccination for every child, whoever they are and wherever they live,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health. “It is critical that the global community now makes a collective and cohesive effort to put progress towards our 6 targets back on track.”
Continue reading World Immunization Week Starts With a Global Challenge
This month begins a massive scale-up of Pentavalent vaccine for India’s children. With the largest rate of child mortality in the world, this new, national immunization effort will help reduce the number of child deaths in India. The Pentavalent vaccine combines diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) with hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Haemophilus influenzae type b kills 72,000 Indian children each year. Currently there are 6.8 million unimmunized children in India.
With the help of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, India will roll out free Pentavalent shots in 12 states during its first phase. 8 states already have free Pentavalent immunizations. By the end of phase one 2/3 of all India’s children will have access to the Pentavalent shot, according to GAVI. Phase two will cover the remaining 16 states with the Pentavalent shot. Phase two begins in 2015.
“India’s decision to expand access to Pentavalent vaccines through the Universal Immunization Programme will have a major long-term positive health impact by averting the deaths associated with Hib pneumonia, meningitis and hepB liver cancer,” said Dr Seth Berkley CEO of Gavi.
India has already shown that massive immunization roll-outs are in its citizens’ best interest in order to have a healthier populace. India was recently declared polio free because of its willingness to scale-up its polio vaccination programs.
Read more at GAVI.org.
Did you know there are 22 million children who still do not have access to vaccines? This is according to GAVI Alliance’s recently released 2012 Progress Report. Despite the high number of children who are not being vaccinated GAVI met and achieved many global milestones that are highlighted in its 2012 timeline including attracting $38 million US in pledges for childhood immunizations in January and securing a 67% decrease in rotavirus costs in April.
Pneumonia and diarrhea account for nearly a quarter of all deaths of children under the age of five so lowering the cost of the vaccines is critical to saving more children’s lives. Through vaccines 500,000 children’s lives can be saved annually.
In 2012 you can see the graph of GAVI supported vaccine introductions. Click to enlarge. From the graph, the standout country in 2012 was Ghana which rolled out yellow fever, pnemococcal, rotavirus, measles 2nd dose, and meningitis A vaccines.
Eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases is the ultimate equity – no one has to suffer from the disease anymore. – Dr Alan Hinman, CSO representative, GAVI Board
In the report it is surprising to learn that across the 73 approved GAVI countries there is only 3% coverage of the rotavirus vaccine and 10% coverage of the pneumococcal vaccine, even though as aforementioned pneumonia and diarrhea are the leading causes of death for children under the age of 5. As of 2012 here is a graph showing the vaccine coverage.
GAVI is working on several goals including lowering the price of vaccines, strengthening health systems to make delivery easier, and increase the amount and availability of vaccines globally.
You can read the entire 2012 Progress Report at gaviprogressreport.org.
Photos: United Nations and GAVI
This Thursday our partner Shot@Life is the featured campaign for this week’s #DadsChat with Bruce Sallen.
Shot@Life champions will be special guests during the chat to talk about the events and activities they have done to teach their children how to give back and also spread the word about Shot@Life.
What is a dad chat? Bruce Sallan is the author of “A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation” and radio host of “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View.” He gave up a long-term showbiz career to become a stay-at-home-dad. He has dedicated his new career to becoming the Dad advocate.
Bruce Sallan carries on his mission not only through his book and radio show, but also with his column “A Dad’s Point-of-View”, syndicated in over 100 newspapers and websites worldwide, as well as with his dedication to his community on Facebook and Twitter. Every Thursday from 9pm -10pm ET, Bruce hosts a #DadChat. He recently started incorporating causes into some of the chats by auctioning off prizes and giving all of the money to the featured charity of the night. Recent Dad Chats have been incredibly successful – 10 million impressions, 1,000-2,000 tweets, and a reach of a million people!
Shot@Life Dad Chat:
· May 31, 2012, 9-10pm ET via #dadchat
· Paying it forward: Teaching your kids how to give back
· Co-hosted by Ted Rubin
· Prizes: Two Shot@Life iPods and a trip for 2 to Vegas
· On May 31, anyone who donates to Shot@Life will receive Shot@Life swag (water bottles, tshirts, jellybeans, etc.)