Every year, UNICEF vaccinates half the world's children. In 2021, we joined the COVAX Initiative to ensure every community is protected from COVID-19. Last year, UNICEF helped to deliver tests, treatments and more than 1 billion vaccines to the hardest to reach places on earth.

We’ve made incredible progress, but the race to end the pandemic is not over. Now we must turn vaccines into vaccinations. Our teams are helping low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their health systems with enough trained workers and access to equipment like cold storage freezers.

Together we can make history and end the pandemic for all.  


Live COVID-19 vaccine delivery tracker:

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.

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.

Vaccine FAQ's

How do vaccines work?
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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. 
What’s in a vaccine?
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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. 
Are vaccines safe?
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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.  
Why should I vaccinate my child?
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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. 

Monthly donations make a long-lasting impact Monthly donations make a long-lasting impact
Monthly donations make a long-lasting impact

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.