The State of the World's Children 2023
Latin America and the Caribbean recorded the world's biggest drop in childhood vaccination in the last decade. Learn more in the new UNICEF report.
For many years, Latin America and the Caribbean had one of the highest childhood immunization rates in the world. Now it has one of the lowest.
With the launch of a new edition of The State of the World's Children, UNICEF reveals that the region had the biggest decline in childhood immunization coverage in the last ten years, leaving 1 in 4 children unprotected from deadly diseases.
To regain lost ground and ensure all children are vaccinated, the report calls on governments and partners to invest in immunization and primary health care.
Snapshot of Childhood Immunization in Latin America and the Caribbean
“Vaccination is one of the simplest and most cost-effective public health interventions. To regain lost ground and ensure every child is vaccinated, governments and partners must invest in immunization and primary health care. We can prevent childhood diseases now or all pay the price later”.
“Diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio, once thought eradicated in many countries, are making a comeback across the region, putting the lives of the most marginalized children and everyone’s well-being at risk.”
Latin America and the Caribbean’s decline in childhood immunization may be driven by multiple factors. On the one hand, natural disasters, violence, urbanization, instability, and migration have contributed to increasing inequalities. Uneven public spending in health across the region and reduced investment in some countries have left the most marginalized communities cut off from quality primary health care.
Ten years ago, this region proved that it could protect children from life-threatening diseases. There is no reason why we can't do it again now, with more knowledge, capacity and resources.”
To recover from backsliding and reduce the number of zero-dose children in Latin America and the Caribbean, UNICEF calls on governments and partners to:
- Urgently identify and vaccinate all children, especially those in the poorest households, indigenous children and afro-descendant children who have missed vaccinations.
- Prioritize funding to immunization services and primary health care.
- Build resilient health systems through investment in health workers, innovation and manufacturing of vaccine supplies in the region.
- Strengthen demand for vaccines, including by building confidence.