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50-100% higher

Mortality of children under five in families in the poorest wealth quintile, compared to the richest.

World immunization week: “Are you up to date?”

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28 April 2014
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TASHKENT, 24 April 2014 - World Immunization Week – celebrated in the last week of April (24-30) - aims to promote one of the world’s most powerful tools for health – the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages, particularly children, against preventable diseases. It was flagged off in Tashkent today at a Scientific Conference on Rotavirus Infection and Rotavirus vaccine to prepare health professionals for the launch of this new vaccine in July this year. The Conference will host 80 participants and two leading international speakers have been invited by WHO Euro.

World Immunization Week aims to refocus public attention on the importance of vaccination for children and adolescents. This Week is celebrated by Governments, WHO and UNICEF with their immunization partners and civil society organizations around the world. The theme for this year’s edition of the Week is “Are you up to date?” – a direct appeal to parents and young adults to inform themselves about immunization and make sure they and their families are protected with vaccines.

Immunization saves 2-3 million lives each year. By protecting children against fatal diseases, vaccines keep them alive and healthy. As the programme with the maximum range, immunization provides a special value to the hardest to reach families, as it can also provide isolated communities with other life-saving care for mothers and children. Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health investments we can make for future generations.

This year will see the Rotavirus diarrhea prevention vaccine being introduced for the first time nationwide. During December 2013 - March 2014 WHO and UNICEF jointly held nationwide orientations and trainings on Rotavirus vaccination for all Primary Health Post frontline health providers who will be involved in the vaccination. WHO Safe Immunization modules have been adapted and submitted for approved to the Ministry of Health as official teaching material for Uzbekistan (both for pre and after service education). Communication materials have been developed jointly by UNICEF and WHO and already distributed to all Primary Healthcare institutions through the Ministry of Health.

On the global stage, in 2011, an estimated 83% of infants worldwide were vaccinated with the three doses of the vaccine required to immunize them against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis [1] (DPT 3). These three diseases are potentially fatal for children under 5. One out of five infants worldwide - nearly 20% of children - does not receive 3 life-saving doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine [2]. The unreached “fifth child,” missed by vaccination campaigns, is defenseless against these killer diseases.

In 2011, five regions reached over 90% of children with the crucial diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) vaccine: Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia and the Pacific, industrialized countries, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East and North Africa [3]. In 2011, 123 countries immunized over 90% of infants against measles. Between 2000 and 2011, vaccination resulted in a 71% drop in measles deaths worldwide [4].

Since 1991 Uzbekistan has achieved a lot in area of management of vaccine preventable diseases. In comparison to 1993-1994 when only 45-60 percent of the country's children were immunized against the five major vaccine-preventable diseases (polio, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, tetanus), coverage in 2012 was >95% (source - Immunization summary by WHO and UNICEF, 2013).

While introducing new vaccines such as the Rota vaccine in Uzbekistan, the focus of the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF is now to ensure equity in vaccine coverage and to ensure that every child, particularly the most disadvantaged or living in the most remote areas of the country is fully immunized and protected against all vaccine preventable diseases.

A strong message of the World Immunization Week to all Governments worldwide is that Immunization makes economic sense. Recent studies show that scaling up the use of existing vaccines in 72 of the world’s poorest countries could save 6.4 million lives and avert $6.2 billion in treatment costs between 2011 and 2020 [5].

For more information visit: and website.

You can also contact:

MoH: Dr Tursunova, tel: 239-47-21

WHO: Shahin Huseynov, tel: 281-51-72

UNICEF:Kamola Safaeva, tel: 233-95-12

[1] Immunization summary – A statistical reference containing data through 2011 – UNICEF & WHO, November 2012
[2] Global Immunization Data 2012, WHO & UNICEF – Children who do not receive the required 3 doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine are not fully immunized.
[3] Immunization summary – A statistical reference containing data through 2011 – UNICEF & WHO, November 2012

Author: UNICEF

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UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. We have the global authority to influence decision-makers, and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality. That makes us unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.

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