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Expanding immunization coverage

© UNICEF/Occupied Palestinian Territory /Halawani
A nurse administers an immunization to a baby at a clinic in Ein Al Beidah, a remote village in northern West Bank.

Reaching every child with lifesaving vaccines
Together with its partners, UNICEF has outlined a clear goal for expanding immunization coverage: reaching 90% of children under the age of one nationwide with routine immunization, and at least 80% of coverage for every country district by the year 2020.

These goals are outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), which was endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Organization in 2012. The GVAP mission is to improve health by extending the full benefits of immunization to all people, regardless of where they are born, who they are or where they live. The goals of the GVAP focus on global and regional elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases and the development of new and improved vaccine technologies.

Equity matters

UNICEF supports governments – who hold primary responsibility for vaccination programmes - to target unimmunized children and provide for both the cost of vaccines and for their delivery. UNICEF’s “Reaching Every Community” strategy helps focus immunization activities and resources on the most vulnerable and excluded communities so that all children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases, regardless of where they live.

Expanding immunization coverage yields strong results:

  • More than 100 million infants are immunized each year, saving 2-3 million lives annually.
  • Since 2000, an estimated 15.6 million child deaths have been averted through measles immunization.
  • Maternal and neo-natal tetanus has been eliminated from 35 out of 59 high-risk countries since 1999 through vaccination.
  • The prevalence of polio has declined dramatically since 1988, and only three countries remain endemic.

Partnerships for children

For over 40 years, UNICEF and partners have helped lead the global immunization drive. UNICEF works with WHO, GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to ensure that vaccines protect all children – especially those who are the hardest to reach and the most vulnerable.

As a founding member of GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance, a partnership to expand the use of life-saving new vaccines for children – UNICEF has helped bring new vaccines to approximately 440 million children in over 70 countries and to avert over six million child deaths since 2000.



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