In 1974, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) to ensure that all children have access to routinely recommended vaccines. Since then, global coverage with the four core vaccines (Bacille calmette guérin vaccine [for protection against tuberculosis], Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine [DTP], Polio vaccine, and Measles vaccine) has increased from <5% to ≥ 84%. Coverage with the third dose of DTP vaccine (DTP3) by age 12 months is a key indicator of immunization program performance.
Estimated global DTP3 coverage has remained at 83%- 84% since 2009, with estimated 2013 coverage at 84%. Global coverage estimates for the second routine dose of Measles-containing Vaccine (MCV2) are reported for the first time in 2013; global coverage was 35% by the end of the second year of life and 53% when including older age groups. Results showed that more than 111 million infants received vaccines in 2013 to protect them from deadly diseases. These infants account for about 84 percent of the world’s children, but an estimated 21.8 million infants remained unvaccinated, according to new estimates from WHO. Three of WHO’s regions reported very high immunization coverage: the Western Pacific with 96 percent; the European Region with 96 percent; and the Region of the Americas with 90 percent. Coverage was slightly lower in the: Eastern Mediterranean Region at 82 percent; in the South-East Asia Region at 77 percent; and in the African Region at 75 percent. Improvements in equity of access and use of immunization services will help ensure that all children are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.