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Current Issues

 

"We are a global community, and vaccine-preventable diseases, such as polio and measles, that still occur in other parts of the world can and will appear in the United States unless we support local and global immunization initiatives." -- Bonnie Maldonado, MD, FAAP

 

Immunization coverage in the United States tops 90% for all childhood vaccines. Many state governments operate programs which provide access to low-cost or free vaccines, and the federal government allocates funding for domestic immunization initiatives and also for immunization research and safety programs.

The immunization coverage levels of several nations across the globe are drastically lower than those in the US. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates for the health of all children, including those outside of the United States. In 2011, the AAP launched its initial efforts to take on global immunization challenges. Specifically, the AAP seeks to provide its membership with the tools necessary to educate and advocate at the local level for global immunization issues.

Infectious diseases don't have boundaries, and one of the best ways to eliminate disease outbreaks or re-introduction of diseases in the US is to ensure all children in the world have access to immunizations. The first decade of the 21st century has been the most productive in the history of vaccine development, but unfortunately, one in five children globally still does not have access to vaccines.

Successes

  • The combined measles-rubella vaccine, supported by Gavi, will be introduced to 49 countries beginning in 2013 - protecting over 700 million children
  • Global measles mortality has declined by 78% from 2000 to 2008
  • India has been polio-free since 2011
  • Global polio incidence has decreased 99% since 1998
  • Annual neonatal tetanus has decreased from almost 800,000 deaths to fewer than 60,000 deaths since 1988
  • Delivering three childhood vaccines (Hib, pneumococcal, rotavirus) in the world's 73 poorest countries over the next decade could lead to $63 billion in cost savings

Needs

  • 1 in 5 children globally do not have access to vaccines
  • Around 24 million children under one year old - almost 20% of the children born every year - are not being reached with vaccines
  • Most of the children not being reached by vaccines live in the poorest countries where multiple factors contribue to low coverage rates - such as fragile or non-existent health service infrastructure, difficult geographical terrain and/or armed conflict
  • Immunization efforts could be challenging for the 35 lower-middle income countries that are not eligible for Gavi funding
  • In 2010, an estimated 19.3 million children under the age of one did not receive the DTP3 vaccine
  • 1 million+ infants and young children die annually from pneumococcal diseases and rotavirus
  • Measles is making a comeback in several industrialized countries including Austria, Isreal, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
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