Global immunization campaigns saved millions of lives over past 50 years, a study reveals

A new study has revealed that global immunization efforts have saved an estimated 154 million lives – or the equivalent of 6 lives every minute of every year – over the past 50 years. The vast majority of lives saved – 101 million – were those of infants, according to the study.

The study, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), shows that immunization is the single greatest contribution of any health intervention to ensuring babies not only see their first birthdays but continue leading healthy lives into adulthood.

Of the vaccines included in the study, the measles vaccination had the most significant impact on reducing infant mortality, accounting for 60 per cent of the lives saved due to immunization. This vaccine will likely remain the top contributor to preventing deaths in the future.

Immunization programmes have become the bedrock of primary health services in communities and countries due to their far reach and wide coverage.

They provide not only an opportunity for vaccination but also enable other life-saving care to be provided, including nutritional support, maternal tetanus prevention, illness screenings and bed net distribution to protect families from diseases like malaria.

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