It hurts, but it works!
Immunization saves up to 3 million children every year
Vaccination is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways to secure the health and future of children. Vaccines protect children against disease and death, saving up to 3 million lives every year. With improved immunization coverage for children, 1.5 million lives more could be saved.
UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Health in Armenia in maintaining a national immunization coverage of 95%, which keeps infectious diseases under control.
Armenia has been polio-free since 2002 and there have been almost no cases of measles reported in the country since 2007. No cases of diphtheria and tetanus have been registered either.
In Armenia, 9 in 10 children aged 2-3 years have received all essential vaccines recommended by WHO (World Health Organization), including BCG, three doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, three doses of polio and at least one dose of measles-mumps-rubella. The vast majority of these children received the vaccines at the right age.
At 73%, immunization coverage for children is lower for the additional vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health, such as hepatitis B at birth, two doses of rotavirus, four doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis and polio.
Immunization is a shield, keeping families and communities safe from serious diseases. It helps protect infants who are often the most vulnerable members of our community. If enough people in a community are immunized, which is often referred to as strong herd immunity, diseases do not spread quickly and are easier to contain. But if the number of vaccinated people remains small, the risk of deadly diseases goes up.
Despite global advances in healthcare and coverage levels, 1.5 million children under five died worldwide from vaccine-preventable diseases in 2016. Attempts to increase immunization coverage have slowed. Globally, 1 in 7 children – over 19 million – missed out on routine vaccines.
In Armenia as well, 1 in 10 children under 3 are not vaccinated. Surprisingly, children in rural Armenia have higher vaccination rates than those in the cities. Children who are 2-3 years old and living in urban areas received only 86% of the necessary vaccinations in 2017, while children living in rural areas received 93%.
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) supports the Armenian Government in consolidating its achievements in the field of disease prevention, while also transitioning towards self-sustainability with additional support from UNICEF in Armenia.
In this transition period, UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health through raising public awareness, especially among parents, about vaccination. We also work to develop the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers and supply clinics with the necessary equipment, such as vaccine carriers for transportation throughout the country.
UNICEF envisions a world where no child dies from a preventable cause and all children reach their full potential in health and well-being. That is why we are on the ground in 190 countries, immunizing millions of children every year.
In short, #VaccinesWork