Record number of infants vaccinated in 2017

As over 19 million children miss out on vaccinations, UNICEF and WHO call for concerted efforts to reach all children

16 July 2018
a baby gets polio drops in Uganda
Francis Habyaremye gives a child polio drops at the Bujubuli Health Centre III in Uganda.


New York, 16 July 2018: A record 123 million infants were immunized globally in 2017 with at least one dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine , according to data released today by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

The data shows that:

  • 9 out of every 10 infants received at least one dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine in 2017, gaining protection against these deadly diseases. 
  • An additional 4.6 million infants were vaccinated globally in 2017 with three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine compared to 2010.
  • 167 countries included a second dose of measles vaccine as part of their routine vaccination schedule.
  • 162 countries now use rubella vaccines and global coverage against rubella has increased from 35 per cent in 2010 to 52 per cent. 
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced in 80 countries to help protect women against cervical cancer.
  • Additional vaccines are being included into the immunization schedule, such as new formulations of meningitis and polio vaccines. 

Despite these successes, almost 20 million infants did not receive the benefits of full immunization in 2017, as they were not vaccinated with three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Of these, almost 8 million (40 per cent) live in fragile or humanitarian settings, including countries affected by conflict. In addition, a growing share are from middle-income countries, where inequity and marginalization, particularly among the urban poor, prevent many from getting immunized. 

As populations grow, more countries need to increase their investments in immunization programmes. To reach all children  with much-needed vaccines, the world will need to vaccinate an estimated 20 million additional children every year with three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP3); 45 million with a second dose of measles vaccine; and 76 million children with 3 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. 

In support of these efforts, WHO and UNICEF are working to expand access to immunization by: 

  • Strengthening the quality, availability and use of vaccine coverage data.
  • Better targeting resources.
  • Planning actions at sub-national levels and
  • Ensuring that vulnerable people can access vaccination services.



Notes to Editors

Since 2000, WHO and UNICEF have jointly produced national immunization coverage estimates for each of the 194 WHO Member States on an annual basis. In addition to producing the immunization coverage estimates for 2017, the WHO and UNICEF estimation process revises the entire historical series of immunization data with the latest available information. The 2017 revision covers 37 years of coverage estimates, from 1980 to 2017. To learn more about UNICEF's work on immunization, click here

Related links

WHO/UNICEF 2017 country and regional immunization coverage data

Global Vaccine Action Plan 2012-2020 

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