Millions of children missing out on vital vaccinesListen /
Up to 22 million children mainly in the developing world are not protected from dangerous diseases with basic vaccines, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Inefficient health and delivery systems, conflicts and poverty are among the major factors which hinder health workers from ensuring the right vaccines reach the children who need them.
Ahead of World Immunization Week which starts on April 20, WHO says there is an urgent need to better communicate the health benefits provided by vaccines and the dangers of not immunizing children.
Dr. Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, the Head of WHO’s Immunization division says immunization averts up to three million deaths every year by protecting children from diphtheria, measles, whooping cough, pneumonia, polio rotavirus, diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.
"Close to 80 per cent on infants worldwide have received the full course of basic vaccines, and this is very high in comparison to many other public health programmes. But we are short of reaching universal coverage, 20 per cent short and 20 per cent is many and this explains why we are behind schedules in achieving for example the eradication of polio. We can see health workers being killed because they are administering life saving interventions. I think we should all be strong enough to condemn this and appeal that this is stopped."
Dr Okwo-Bele says complacency and unfounded myths that vaccines do not work have helped to fuel the resurgence of diseases such as measles in developed countries like France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Gerry Adams, United Nations