Vaccines act as a shield, protecting children and newborn babies from dangerous diseases and saving up to 3 million lives each year.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, 60 life-saving vaccination programs have been disrupted. This is putting millions of children worldwide at risk of preventable diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio. We can prevent this. Together we must act. Please help.
New data shows that COVID-19 has dangerously interrupted vaccination efforts in more than 50 countries.
The situation is critical:
- Across every key measure of childhood, progress has gone backwards since the pandemic was declared;
- At least 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of preventable diseases because of disruptions to essential vaccination programs;
- Measles vaccination campaigns make up 23 of the 60 essential vaccination programs that have been postponed;
- There are already-vulnerable children in danger in countries like the Demographic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Yemen, where serious measles outbreaks have recently been reported.
Urgent action is needed to reach children with life-saving vaccines.
Please, donate now to help protect the world's most vulnerable children against vaccine-preventable diseases.
Last November, two of Mama Bwanga's children died within days of each other after falling victim to the worst measles epidemic ever to strike DRC. Now she only has photos and memories of her two lost children.
80 million people need your urgent assistance
Children around the world could die from disruptions to vaccination programs caused by the pandemic. Lockdowns, restriction of movement and overwhelmed health centres have all meant that it has been harder than ever for children to receive the vaccinations they need to have the best chance at survival.
The worst-affected children are the ones who were already vulnerable before COVID-19 hit. They're the children in war zones, the children who don't have enough food, the children who can't drink or wash in clean water, the kids who can't get an education. They're the children most likely to die, unless we can accelerate efforts to protect them.
Still, progress has stalled over the current decade, and we need your help to continue this important work to ensure every child is protected from preventable diseases.
Two decades of progress in vaccination programs are under threat
In the past 20 years alone, vaccination against preventable diseases has prevented more than 13 million deaths worldwide.
But as the world scrambles to stop deaths from COVID-19, there's an increased risk that vulnerable children will die from other diseases - diseases we were close to managing or even eradicating before the pandemic. Two decades of progress in vaccination programs are under threat of being reversed.
As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, UNICEF has unique and long-standing expertise in vaccine procurement and logistics to help children in need.
We will find a way to get vaccines to children around the world, but we can't do it without the support of people like you
"For those of my generation who grew up in Australia, we don't have any memory of polio, or really know how dangerous measles is.
That's because vaccines have nearly entirely eradicated those diseases here. But these potentially deadly diseases are still very much a reality in many parts of the world."
Mama Bwanga at a health clinic on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DRC. She had her two youngest children vaccinated against measles as soon as she could so that disease couldn’t claim her children again.
You can help protect children today
Yes, COVID-19 has sent children's health backwards. You can help tip the balance back in their favour.
- Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions to date, averting an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year.
- As a direct result of vaccination, the world is closer than ever to eradicating polio, with only two remaining polio endemic countries - Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Deaths from measles, a major child killer, declined by 80 per cent worldwide between 200 and 2017, preventing an estimated 21.1 million deaths.
- In 2018, UNICEF reached almost half of the world's children with life-saving vaccines.