How immunization supports the health of children, families, and communities
Investments in immunization have resulted in some of the most dramatic improvements in child health. A shot in the arm or a few drops of vaccine in the mouth can mean the difference between a family’s sorrow and a child’s healthy future. Dedicated immunization campaigns eradicated the once-debilitating smallpox from the planet, and focused polio campaigns promise to do the same.
Today, more children than ever before are experiencing the promise of vaccines. After her other children struggled with diarrheal disease, Teresa, a mother from Zambia, was determined to get her one-month-old son Vusi vaccinated against rotavirus (see “Immunization is an entry point for education”). Now she can rest easily knowing that he is protected from one of the leading killers of children under five years old.
But not all children are as fortunate as Vusi. An estimated 24 million children still lack access to basic immunization, and new vaccines that reach the industrialized world could take years to become available in poor countries, if they become available at all.
This slideshow offers a glimpse into the true stories of how vaccines are already making a lasting impact on individuals, families, and communities across the globe. It also highlights opportunities for continued advancements. Investments in vaccine research, development, and introduction will help build on the major health gains of the last century and have a significant impact on the health of children in the future.
By introducing new vaccines, like those that prevent pneumonia and the most deadly forms of diarrheal disease, and making them accessible to all, we can help cut child deaths in half. These activities also help support strengthening health systems, which are essential to delivering vaccines to the most remote communities. Finally, investments in vaccine research and development are essential to ensure immunization programs reach all children—no matter where they live.