Worldwide Immunization at an All-Time High - Report

WHO, UNICEF

According to a new report issued Wednesday by the WHO, UNICEF and World Bank, worldwide immunization is currently at an all-time high, with 120 vaccines available globally to prevent deadly diseases, a record number that is. Also, more than 80 new vaccines are in late-stage clinical testing, taking the number to a new high.

In 2008 alone, a record of 106 million infants were immunized, which has reversed a downward trend. Also, Measles death toll decreased by 74% between 2000 and 2007, all because of the vaccines which have played an important role in control and prevention of the disease.

While the results are impressive and are being viewed as a much positive sign, the report "State of the World's Vaccines and Immunization" also said that rich nations must contribute to ensure that the trend continues and reaches new highs. In addition, the contribution will also help in eliminating an annual $1 billion funding gap which leaves about 24 million children at risk still.

Managing Director of the World Bank Group stated, "We have seen a dramatic turnaround in the availability of vaccines in even the poorest countries, yet the international community, together with the countries themselves, must ensure that new and existing technologies actually reach the most vulnerable populations, especially children".

The report credited the positive result in great part to the developing nations that made good use of the GAVI Alliance - a vaccine-financing partnership that includes the WHO, UNICEF, World Bank as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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