It’s no secret that vaccines are considered 1 of the greatest global health achievements. Every year they avert an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths.
During the last 2 centuries, vaccines have eradicated smallpox, reduced global child mortality rates and prevented countless birth defects and lifelong disabilities. But, the success story of vaccination is not yet finished.
Global switch in oral polio vaccines
Between 17 April and 1 May 2016, 155 countries and territories will stop using the trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV), which targets all three strains of wild poliovirus, and replace it with bivalent OPV (bOPV), which targets the remaining two wild polio strains, types 1 and 3.
During World Immunization Week, WHO highlights recent gains in vaccines and immunization and outlines further steps needed to close the immunization gap. “Last year immunization led to some notable wins in the fight against polio, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.
“But they were isolated wins. Polio was eliminated in 1 country, tetanus in 3, and rubella in 1 geographical region. The challenge now is to make gains like this the norm.”
Dengue is the world’s most extensively spread mosquito-borne virus – in the last 60 years, global incidence of the disease has increased 30-fold. The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization has recommended that a vaccine for dengue, called Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV), be considered for use in geographic settings with high endemicity.