WHO/Yoshi Shimizu
                                ? Credits

                                Vaccines and immunization

                                  Overview

                                   

                                  Immunization is a global health and development success story, saving millions of lives every year. Vaccines reduce risks of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds.

                                  We now have vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. Immunization currently prevents 2-3 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles.

                                  Immunization is a key component of primary health care and an indisputable human right. It’s also one of the best health investments money can buy. Vaccines are also critical to the prevention and control of infectious-disease outbreaks. They underpin global health security and will be a vital tool in the battle against antimicrobial resistance.

                                  Yet despite tremendous progress, far too many people around the world – including nearly 20 million infants each year – have insufficient access to vaccines. In some countries, progress has stalled or even reversed, and there is a real risk that complacency will undermine past achievements.

                                  Global vaccination coverage – the proportion of the world’s children who receive recommended vaccines – has remained the same over the past few years.

                                   

                                  Impact

                                   

                                  Vaccines train your immune system to create antibodies, just as it does when it’s exposed to a disease. However, because vaccines contain only killed or weakened forms of germs like viruses or bacteria, they do not cause the disease or put you at risk of its complications.

                                  Vaccines protect against many different diseases, including:

                                   

                                  • Cervical cancer
                                  • Cholera
                                  • Diphtheria
                                  • Hepatitis B
                                  • Influenza
                                  • Japanese encephalitis
                                  • Measles
                                  • Meningitis
                                  • Mumps
                                  • Pertussis
                                   
                                  • Pneumonia
                                  • Polio
                                  • Rabies
                                  • Rotavirus
                                  • Rubella
                                  • Tetanus
                                  • Typhoid
                                  • Varicella
                                  • Yellow fever

                                   

                                  Some other vaccines are currently under development or being piloted, including those that protect against Ebola or malaria, but are not yet widely available globally.

                                  Not all of these vaccinations may be needed in your country. Some may only be given prior to travel, in areas of risk, or to people in high-risk occupations. Talk to your healthcare worker to find out what vaccinations are needed for you and your family.

                                   

                                  WHO response

                                   

                                  WHO is working with countries and partners to improve global vaccination coverage, through the “Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020”. Through the plan, WHO:

                                  1. Helps all countries to commit to immunization as a priority, which means WHO works with them to set national targets and plans, as well as allocate adequate financial and human resources.
                                  2. Supports individuals and communities to understand the value of vaccines and  demand immunization as both their right and responsibility.
                                  3. Develops plans and materials to ensure every person is reached with vaccines.
                                  4. Strengthens immunization systems so they can serve as platform for delivering other health interventions.
                                  5. Works to increase funding for immunization and ensure safe and reliable vaccine supply systems.
                                  6. Develops targeted research and development innovations for new and improved vaccines.

                                  Every year, WHO also works with UNICEF to produce national immunization coverage estimates for Member States. In 2020, WHO will work with Member States to develop the “Immunization Agenda 2030”.

                                   

                                  83%

                                  of infants

                                  vaccinated with 3 doses of DTP containing vaccine in 2020

                                  Read more

                                  17 million

                                  children

                                  miss out on lifesaving measles, diphtheria and tetanus vaccines in 2020

                                  Fact sheet

                                  13% estimated

                                  global coverage

                                  of 15 years old girls with final dose of HPV in 2020

                                  News

                                  All →

                                  Publications

                                  All →
                                  Interim recommendations for an extended primary series with an additional vaccine dose for COVID-19 vaccination in immunocompromised persons

                                  This interim guidance has been developed on the basis of the advice issued by the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization at its meeting...

                                  Annexes to the recommendations for use of the Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19: Grading of evidence, Evidence to recommendation tables

                                  These are the annexes to WHO interim recommendations on the use of CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac. Annexes 1–6  contain  tables ...

                                  Coadministration of seasonal inactivated influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

                                  Vaccination programmes against COVID-19 and seasonal influenza are currently being implemented in parallel in many countries. Administration of both vaccines...