Global child immunisation hits all-time high

2009-10-22 07:35

Childhood immunisation rates reached an all-time high around the

world last year and vaccine development is booming, the World Health

Organization and the World Bank said in a report.

Despite the record 106 million vaccinations the report said 24

million children were deprived access to immunisation programmes.

The two organisations said an estimated one billion dollars in

additional funds were needed to make available new and existing vaccines to

children in 72 of the world’s poorest nations.

In a statement accompanying the report, WHO Director-General

Margaret Chan stressed the importance of overcoming “the divide that separates

rich from poor – between those who get life-saving vaccines and those who


Chan extolled the unparalleled role of vaccines in preventing the

spread of diseases, such as the avian and swine flus, and urged everyone to take

up the challenge of making them accessible to populations most at risk.

“The influenza pandemic draws attention to the promise and dynamism

of vaccine development today,” she said.

“Yet it reminds us once again of the obstacles to bringing the

benefits of science to people in the poorest nations.”

United Nations Children’s Fund executive director Ann Veneman said

“worldwide measles deaths fell by 74% between 2000 and 2007, and vaccinations

played an important part in that decline.”

“Such progress must inspire new efforts to immunise children around

the globe against life-threatening diseases,” she added.

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