WHO’s World Immunisation Week 2015 is launched today with the message “Close the immunization gap”. It draws attention to the Global Vaccine Action Plan and the 5 of 6 targets, which the world is not on track to achieve in 2015.
The message focuses on the 21.8 million infants – equal to 1 in 5 of the world’s infants – who do not receive the third diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP3). The message states that up to 3 million lives are being saved each year by vaccines while 1.5 million still die from vaccine preventable diseases.
But if we want to focus on child mortality, merely calculating the number of deaths caused and averted by vaccine preventable diseases and coverage of DTP3 is insufficient. Vaccines have more wide ranging effects than specific disease protection.