Vaccinating the world against COVID-19
Every year, UNICEF vaccinates half the world's children against preventable diseases. Now, we're taking on COVID-19 as a lead member of the COVAX Initiative to ensure everyone around the world has equitable access to protection.
In 2021, we've been called upon to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the most remote and vulnerable communities on Earth. Our years of experience and vaccine expertise will help us deliver safe and effective vaccines to all.
But we cannot do it alone. We need your help to build a world where everyone has the same protection against this pandemic.
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Vaccine fast facts
Immunisations saves 2 to 3 million lives each year from deadly diseases.
Every year UNICEF reaches almost half of the world’s children with life-saving vaccines.
Since 1988, the number of children affected by polio has fallen 99 per cent.
2.5 billion children have been vaccinated since 2000.
UNICEF is delivering
2 billion COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.
Stay up-to-date with the latest advice, resources and tips to support you and your family through the coronavirus pandemic.
How we vaccinate the world’s children
Each year we reach almost half of the world’s children with vaccines.
This is how we do it.
No Child Too Far
UNICEF supports immunisation programs in more than 100 countries and in some of the world’s most toughest and remote places. By protecting children against deadly disease, we are protecting entire communities.
The Cold Chain
UNICEF and partners harness the latest technologies to make sure vaccines remain safe and effective as they are transported through hot and cold conditions.
UNICEF is the largest single vaccine buyer in the world. The price of many essential childhood vaccines has reached all-time lows and been introduced to children in developing countries.
Thanks to years of successful vaccination programs, the world has never been in a better position to banish polio, measles, rubella and tetanus from the history books.
To give your child the antibodies they need to protect them against diseases, vaccines contain antigens or the germs of the diseases. But the germs are weakened or killed so they don’t cause serious illness. The antigen triggers an immune response within the body and trains our bodies to recognise and fight the disease.
Each ingredient in a vaccine serves a specific purpose to keep the vaccine safe, effective and long lasting.
- The antigen is an inactive or weakened form of a virus or bacteria. It triggers an immune response within the body and trains our bodies to recognise and fight the disease.
- Adjuvants help to boost our immune response. This means they help vaccines to work better.
- Preservatives ensure a vaccine stays effective. They help to stop the growth of bacterial and fungal contaminants.
- Stabilisers protect the vaccine during storage and transportation.
Vaccines extremely safe, with a very low risk of serious complications or allergic reactions. Immunisation saves lives and gives children the opportunity to live a healthy life and to reach their full potential.
All vaccines go through rigorous safety testing, including clinical trials, before they are approved for the public. Countries will only register and distribute vaccines that meet rigorous quality and safety standards. Once approved, vaccines continue to be monitored closely, as safety is always the number one priority.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your child against preventable diseases. In Australia, many preventable diseases have been eliminated or reduced thanks to widespread and long-term vaccination programs.
When you protect your own child against disease, you are also protecting your community. For many infectious diseases, when a sufficient proportion of a population is vaccinated, infectious diseases are unlikely to spread – this is known as ‘herd immunity’. But if people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon in some areas can quickly reappear.
But we still have work to do...
The poorest, most vulnerable children who need immunisation the most continue to be the least likely to get it.
- Some 14 million children did not receive any vaccines in 2019.
- 44 per cent of unvaccinated children live in fragile or humanitarian settings, including countries affected.
- Today, 1.5 million people die each year because they weren’t vaccinated.