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News Update

Twelve countries across Africa are set to receive 18 million doses of the first-ever malaria vaccine.

Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing nearly half a million children under five years old each year and accounting for approximately 95 per cent of global malaria cases and 96 per cent of deaths in 2021.

The malaria vaccine is a breakthrough in improving child health and child survival. It will be included in children’s routine vaccination programs in 12 African nations, with the rollout beginning in early 2024. 

Updated: 11 July 2023

Vaccines act as a shield, protecting children and newborn babies from life-threatening diseases and saving up to 3 million lives each year.

However, over the past three years, there has been a backslide in vaccinating children against deadly or debilitating diseases like measles, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, diphtheria and whooping cough – diseases that children need help fighting against.

Globally, 67 million children have missed out on one or more vaccinations since 2019 due to service disruption caused by strained health systems and diversion of scarce resources, conflict and decreased confidence.

Of the 67 million children who missed routine vaccination between 2019 and 2021, 48 million didn't receive a single routine vaccine, also known as 'zero-dose' children. We must help children catch up on their missing vaccinations, no matter who they are or where they live. Otherwise, we'll see more outbreaks, more sick children and greater pressure on already strained health systems.

We can prevent this. Together we must act. Please help.

Vaccinate Children. Save Lives.

Protect children against preventable diseases with lifesaving vaccines by donating today.

A severe cholera outbreak affecting the lives of children

A young boy is getting vaccinated for cholera
After more than three years, with no cases of cholera reported in Haiti, the Ministry of Health (MoH) declared a cholera outbreak, starting a vaccination campaign in December 2022.
© UNICEF/U.S. CDC/Unique Identifier/Georges Harry Rouzier

Twenty-eight million people worldwide, including many children, are currently affected by cholera. Despite the disease being preventable and easily treatable, it continues to impact children in vulnerable communities, including Haiti, Syria and Eastern and Southern Africa.  

Cholera is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the intestines. The disease is most common in areas with poor sanitation and limited access to clean water and can spread rapidly in crowded or unsanitary conditions, especially during natural disasters such as flooding, cyclones and earthquakes.

While cholera can be treated with antibiotics and rehydration therapy, prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent serious complications and death. Vaccines are also available to help prevent cholera but sadly are not widely available in many parts of the world. 

A surge in polio cases

A child getting vaccinated against polio in Sudan
In March 2023, a child receives polio vaccines during the house-to-house polio campaign in Sudan.
© UNICEF/UN0822660/Mojtba Moawia Mahmoud

At the beginning of 2022, Wild Poliovirus was nearly eradicated, with cases having decreased by over 99 per cent since 1988. Devastatingly, polio is again rising in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan.

Predominately affecting children under five years, polio is a highly infectious disease that can cause paralysis. There is no cure for polio and can only be prevented by immunisation.

On 16 December 2022, Sudan declared a new polio outbreak after a variant type 2 poliovirus (cVDPV2) was confirmed in a four-year-old boy in West Darfur state. In March 2023, the Federal Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF, WHO and other partners, launched the first round of the nationwide polio outbreak response campaign in Sudan.

The integrated house-to-house campaign targeted over 8.9 million children under five years who also received vitamin A supplements to boost their immunity against diseases, including measles and polio.

Vaccinate Children. Save Lives.

Protect children against preventable diseases with lifesaving vaccines by donating today.

Decades of progress in vaccination programs are under threat

The backsliding in immunisation rates combined with the rising rates of natural disasters and the severe acute malnutrition (SAM) crisis is devastating communities around the world. A malnourished child already has weakened immunity, and missing vaccinations can mean preventable childhood illnesses become lethal to them.

We need your help to continue this important work and ensure every child is protected from preventable diseases.

"This is a red alert for child health. We are witnessing the largest sustained drop in childhood immunisation in a generation. The consequences will be measured in lives."

Catherine Russell
UNICEF Executive Director

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.


Each year, UNICEF reaches almost half of the world's children under five with life-saving vaccines.

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Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions to date, preventing an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year.

How will my donation help children?

Your generous donation can save lives;

  • $78 could provide 100 children with vaccinations against measles, one of the biggest killers of children under five.
  • $100 could help to provide 300 doses of polio vaccines, to help protect children from this deadly but preventable disease.
  • $190 could help provide 500 doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine.

    How do we use each dollar donated?

  • 82¢
    last year, 82 cents went directly to program expenditure and community education, including long-term development and emergency response work.
  • 13¢
    last year, 13 cents covered the essential costs of raising public awareness and fundraising to generate more support for UNICEF’s work.
  • 5¢
    last year, 5 cents were spent on UNICEF Australia’s accountability and administration.

Your generous gift will help support UNICEF's work for vaccinating children and for all children in need around the world.

A female health worked is giving a droplet vaccine to a young girl.

Vaccinate Children. Save Lives.

Protect children against preventable diseases with lifesaving vaccines by donating today.