The latest WHO and UNICEF data on global immunization coverage show that 86% of the world’s children received the required 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis containing vaccines (DTP3) in 2015, a coverage level that has been sustained above 85% since 2010.
As a result, the number of children who did not receive routine vaccinations has dropped to an estimated 19.4 million, down from 33.8 million in 2000.
However, this progress falls short of global immunization targets of the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) for the Decade of Vaccines of achieving 90% or more DTP3 vaccination coverage at the national level and 80% or more in all districts2 in all countries by 2015.
Gaps in immunization coverage
Among the 194 WHO Member States, 126 countries achieved and sustained the 90% immunization target for DTP3, up from 63 in 2000. Many of these countries, especially the low and middle income countries, need to continue strengthening their health systems as they add vaccines to their national programmes so that coverage with all vaccines reach and sustain at the 90% or more target.
Countries such as Congo, Guatemala, Iraq, Mauritania, Philippines and South Sudan have experienced recent decline in coverage due to under-investments in national immunization programmes, vaccine stock-outs, disease outbreaks or conflicts and have not been able to establish or maintain strong health systems that are needed to sustainably deliver vaccination services to reach and sustain high immunization coverage.
Six countries had less than 50% coverage with DTP3 in 2015, many of which are fragile states and affected by emergencies: Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Ukraine.
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