10 facts on immunization

Updated March 2018

There is arguably no single preventive health intervention more cost-effective than immunization. Time and again, the international community has endorsed the value of vaccines and immunization to prevent and control a large number of infectious diseases and, increasingly, several chronic diseases that are caused by infectious agents.

Expanding access to immunization is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Not only do vaccinations prevent the suffering and death associated with infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, measles, pneumonia, polio and whooping cough, they also help enable national priorities like education and economic development to take hold.

The unique value of vaccines was the driving force behind the Decade of Vaccines, an effort launched at the 2010 World Economic Forum and supported by many stakeholders to extend the full benefits of immunization to all by 2020. Governments welcomed the initiative, and 194 member states endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), a framework to prevent millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020, at the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly in 2012.

GVAP aims to strengthen routine immunization, accelerate control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone, introduce new vaccines, and spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies.

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