Vaccines save millions of lives every year and are one of the best ways to prevent childhood illnesses such as diphtheria, measles and polio. In 2017, the number of children immunised worldwide – 116.2 million – was the highest ever reported. But despite these impressive gains, all of the targets for disease elimination are behind schedule, and many children still die from easily preventable, treatable and curable diseases.
Countries must do more to ensure that all children receive all 11 World Health Organisation-recommended vaccines. 2019 and 2020 provide a big chance for improving vaccination rates and working towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), two of the world’s biggest multilateral health partnerships, both have vital roles to play to improve vaccine coverage and strengthen health systems.
Both funds need renewed funding over the next 18 months. World Immunisation Week (24–30 April) is a chance to show the importance of supporting these global health institutions. Now is a critical time for parliamentarians and the Government to understand the importance of a strong, coordinated global approach to vaccination, and to continue the UK’s historic leadership in vaccination.
This month, we are asking you to take to your local media and social media channels to demonstrate the value of vaccines for the health of children, communities and the world, to show your MP that there is public support for global vaccination programmes.