Immunisation prevents an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths per year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertusis and measles. However, an additional 1.5 million deaths could have been avoided if global vaccination rates increase.

The global vaccination coverage - proportion of the world's children who receive recommended vaccines - has reached a plateau for the past few years, mainly due to the MMR scare and anti-vaccine movements. Here the latest global immunisation coverage rates for each major disease*:

*Statistics are based on WHO's latest report in 2015

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

-causes meningitis, pneumonia
-available in 191 countries
-offered in tri-dosages
-average 64% vaccination rate
-90% in Americas, 25% in Western Pacific, 56% in Southeast Asia

Hepatitis B

-attacks the liver
-available in 185 countries
-offered in tri-dosages
-average 83% vaccination rate
-only 96 countries introduced one dose of hepatitis B vaccine to newborns within the first 24 hours of life at 39% global coverage rate.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

-causes cervical cancer, or other types of cancer and genital warts in both men and women.
-available in 66 countries


-highly contagious, causes high fever and rash, leading to blindness, encephalitis or death
-offered in bi-dosages
-85% global coverage rate of one dose by age of two years
-61% global coverage for second dose, available in 160 countries.

Meningitis A

-causes severe brain damage, fatal.
-5 years after its introduction, more than 235 million people in African countries affected by the disease had been vaccinated with MenAfriVac, a vaccine developed by WHO and PATH.


-causes painful swelling at the parotid glands, fever, headache and muscle aches. May lead to viral meningitis
-available in 121 countries

Pneumococcal diseases

-causes pneumonia, meningitis, febrile bacteraemia, otitis media, sinusitis, bronchitis
-available in 129 countries with average 73% global coverage rate


-causes irreversible paralysis
-offered in tri-dosages
-Global coverage rates for three doses of polio vaccines is 86%
-eradicated except in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
-Polio-free countries also have been infected by imported virus
-all countries - especially those experiencing conflict and instability - are still at risk until polio is fully eradicated


-causes severe diarrhoeal disease
-available in 84 countries
-Average global coverage rate is at 23%.


-infection during pregnancy causes foetal death or congenital rubella syndrome. Leads to defects of the brain, heart, eyes and ears
-available in 147 countries
-global coverage estimated at 46%.


-caused by bacterium grown in absence of oxygen. Common in dirty wounds or umbilical cord if not kept clean.
-spores of C. Tetani are present in the environment, regardless of location.
-causes serious complications or can be fatal
-available in 106 countries
-average 83% of newborns are protected
-maternal and neonatal tetanus persist as public health problems in 19 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.

Yellow fever

-transmitted by infected mosquitoes, causes acute viral haemorrhagic disease
-available in 35 out of 42 countries and territories at risk for yellow fever in Africa and the Americas.

World Immunisation Week

A WHO response to help improve global vaccination coverage includes World Immunisation Week, which occurs every last week of April. It aims to increase awareness and demand for immunisation, and improve vaccination delivery services to ensure protection against deadly diseases for people everywhere.

The theme for 2017 is "Vaccines Work” to counter the anti-vaccine movement by raising awareness about the critical importance of full immunisation throughout life. MIMS

Read more:
Italy's measles epidemic highlights the dire costs of an unvaccinated population
WHO issues measles alert across Europe
Almost 1,600 children did not receive vaccinations last year, says Malaysia's MOH