World Immunization Week 2019 - The State of Nigeria

Celebrated in the last week of April, World Immunization Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today(WHO-2019).

The theme of this year’s campaign is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!, and the campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected, at all ages, through the power of vaccines.

Vaccines work: We are protected together

Theme: #VaccinesWork

World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April – aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Yet, there are still nearly 20 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world today(WHO-2019).

The theme this year is Protected Together: Vaccines Work!, and the campaign will celebrate Vaccine Heroes from around the world – from parents and community members to health workers and innovators – who help ensure we are all protected through the power of vaccines.

Vast progress but fragile gains

In 2017, the number of children immunized – 116.2 million – was the highest ever reported. Since 2010, 113 countries have introduced new vaccines, and more than 20 million additional children have been vaccinated. 

But despite gains, all of the targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule, and over the last two years the world has seen multiple outbreaks of measles, diphtheria and various other vaccine-preventable diseases. Most of the children missing out are those living in the poorest, marginalized and conflict-affected communities.

In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must intensify efforts to ensure all people receive the lifesaving benefits of vaccines. Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made progress towards the goals must work to sustain the progress they have made.

 

 

2019 campaign objectives

The main goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunization throughout life

As part of the 2019 campaign, WHO and partners aim to:

  • Demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities and the world.
  • Highlight the need to build on immunization progress while addressing gaps, including through increased investment.
  • Show how routine immunization is the foundation for strong, resilient health systems and universal health coverage.

Why immunization matters

Expanding access to immunization is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, poverty reduction and universal health coverage. Routine immunization provides a point of contact for health care at the beginning of life and offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the earliest beginnings and into old age.

Immunization is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, and providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.

Key messages

  • We need the help of all heroes everywhere to reach the 1 in 10 kids who still do not have access to vaccines.
  • At all ages, vaccines save lives. They protect our children and they protect us all as adults.
  • Vaccines mean lives lived – they mean a brighter future for our children and theirs to come.
  • We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. You can be a vaccine hero.
    • Ensure you & your family are vaccinated on time, every time
    • Travelling? Know before you go - ensure your family’s vaccines are up to date.
    • Be a vaccine champion – Talk to people about the benefits of vaccines. Vaccines save lives, help children learn & grow, & prevent serious illness & disability.
    • Know the facts. Any licensed vaccine has been rigorously tested before use to make sure it is safe and effective for you and your family.
    • Health workers: Every check up is an opportunity to check in on vaccination, for children,  youth,  adults,  the elderly

Immunization coverage

 

Key facts

  • Immunization prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.
  • Global vaccination coverage remains at 85%, with no significant changes during the past few years.
  • Uptake of new and underused vaccines is increasing.
  • An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, however if global immunization coverage improves.
  • An estimated 19.9 million children under the age of one did not receive DTP3 vaccine.

Overview

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

During 2017, about  85% of infants worldwide (116.2 million infants) received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, protecting them against infectious diseases that can cause serious illness and disability or be fatal. By 2017, 123 countries had reached at least 90% coverage of DTP3 vaccine(WHO-2017).

Global immunization coverage 2017

A summary of global vaccination coverage in 2017 follows(WHO-2017).

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) causes meningitis and pneumonia. Hib vaccine had been introduced in 191 countries by the end of  2017. Global coverage with 3 doses of Hib vaccine is estimated at  72%. There is great variation between regions. In the WHO Region of the Americas, coverage is estimated at  91%, while it is only 28% in the WHO Western Pacific Region. The WHO South-East Asia Region raised coverage from 80% in 2016 to 86% in 2017.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. Hepatitis B vaccine for infants had been introduced nationwide in 187 countries by the end of 2017. Global coverage with 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine is estimated at 84% and is as high as 93% in the Western Pacific. In addition, 105 countries introduced one dose of hepatitis B vaccine to newborns within the first 24 hours of life, and the global coverage is  43%.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral infection of the reproductive tract, and can cause cervical cancer, other types of cancer, and genital warts in both men and women. HPV vaccine was introduced in  80 countries by the end of 2017, excluding four countries with introduction in some parts of the country.

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus, which usually results in a high fever and rash, and can lead to blindness, encephalitis or death. By the end of 2017, 85% of children had received one dose of measles vaccine by their second birthday, and 167 countries had included a second dose as part of routine immunization and 67% of children received two doses of measles vaccine according to national immunization schedules.

Meningitis A is an infection that can cause severe brain damage and is often deadly. By the end of 2017 – 7 years after its introduction – more than 280 million people in African countries affected by the disease had been vaccinated with MenAfriVac, a revolutionary vaccine developed by WHO and PATH. In 2012, MenAfriVac became the first vaccine to gain approval for travel outside the cold chain – for as long as four days without refrigeration and at temperatures of up to 40°C. Ghana and Sudan were the first two countries to include the MenAfriVac in their routine immunization schedule in 2016, followed by Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Mali and Niger in 2017.

Mumps is a highly contagious virus that causes painful swelling at the side of the face under the ears (the parotid glands), fever, headache and muscle aches. It can lead to viral meningitis. Mumps vaccine had been introduced nationwide in 122 countries by the end of 2017.

Pneumococcal diseases include pneumonia, meningitis and febrile bacteraemia, as well as otitis media, sinusitis and bronchitis. Pneumococcal vaccine had been introduced in 135 countries by the end of 2017, including  five in some parts of the country, and global coverage was estimated at 44%.

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis. In 2017, 85% of infants around the world received three doses of polio vaccine. Targeted for global eradication, polio has been stopped in all countries except for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Polio-free countries have been infected by imported virus, and all countries – especially those experiencing conflict and instability – remain at risk until polio is fully eradicated.

Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children throughout the world. Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 91 countries by the end of 2017, including six in some parts of the country, and global coverage was estimated at 28%.

Rubella is a viral disease which is usually mild in children, but infection during early pregnancy may cause fetal death or congenital rubella syndrome, which can lead to defects of the brain, heart, eyes, and ears. Rubella vaccine was introduced nationwide in 162 countries by the end of 2017, and global coverage was estimated at 52%.

Tetanus is caused by a bacterium which grows in the absence of oxygen, for example in dirty wounds or in the umbilical cord if it is not kept clean. The spores of C. tetani are present in the environment irrespective of geographical location. It produces a toxin which can cause serious complications or death. The vaccine to prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus had been introduced in 106 countries by the end of 2017. An estimated 85% of newborns were protected through immunization. Maternal and neonatal tetanus persist as public health problems in 14 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. As of 2017, yellow fever vaccine had been introduced in routine infant immunization programmes in 36 of the 42 countries and territories at risk for yellow fever in Africa and the Americas. In these 42 countries and territories, coverage is estimated at  43%.
 

Key challenges

In 2017, an estimated  19.9 million infants worldwide were not reached with routine immunization services such as 3 doses of DTP vaccine. Around 60% of these children live in 10 countries: Afghanistan, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

Monitoring data at subnational levels is critical to helping countries prioritize and tailor vaccination strategies and operational plans to address immunization gaps and reach every person with lifesaving vaccines.

WHO response 

WHO is working with countries and partners to improve global vaccination coverage, including through these initiatives adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2012.
 

The Global Vaccine Action Plan 

The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) is a roadmap to prevent millions of deaths through more equitable access to vaccines by 2020. To date, progress towards the GVAP targets is off track.

In May 2017, Ministers of Health from 194 countries endorsed a new resolution on strengthening immunization to achieve the goals of the GVAP. The resolution urges countries to strengthen the governance and leadership of national immunization programmes, and improve monitoring and surveillance systems to ensure up-to-date data guides policy and programmatic decisions to optimize performance and impact. It also calls on countries to expand immunization services beyond infancy, mobilize domestic financing, and strengthen international cooperation to achieve GVAP goals.

It requests the WHO Secretariat to continue supporting countries to achieve regional and global vaccination goals. It recommends scaling up advocacy efforts to improve understanding of the value of vaccines and urgency of meeting the GVAP goals.

World Immunization Week 

The last week of April each year is marked by WHO and partners as World Immunization Week. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

The main goal of the  2018 campaign with the theme Protected Together #VaccinesWork is to to urge greater action on immunization around the world, with a particular focus on spotlighting the role that everyone can play in this effort, from donors to individuals.

As part of the campaign, WHO and partners aim to:

  • Highlight the importance of immunization, and the remaining gaps in global coverage
  • Underscore the value of vaccines to target donor countries and the importance of investing in immunization efforts
  • Highlight the ways in which everyone – from donors to individuals – can and must drive vaccine progress.