Figures show increase of 400,000 deaths averted over course of 2018

Geneva, 26 August 2019 – Sixty-six million children in the world’s poorest countries were vaccinated against deadly diseases in 2018 with support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, bringing the total figure to 763 million since 2000.

The latest estimates of immunisation coverage published by WHO and UNICEF also show that more than 13 million deaths have been averted according to impact models coordinated by the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC), a group bringing together the work of vaccine impact modelers worldwide. This includes 1.7 million deaths averted in 2018, an increase of 400,000 on the 2017 figure.

However, despite a 4 percentage point increase in the number of children in Gavi-supported countries receiving a full course of basic diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines (DTP3) between 2015 and 2018, rapid population growth, particularly in Africa, means overall coverage has plateaued at around 81% for the past three years. Moreover, 10.4 million (13%) children in Gavi-supported countries did not receive any DTP vaccine in 2018 (“DTP zero dose”).

A study by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins University has generated estimates for vaccination’s return on investment for the next decade 2021-2030: each dollar invested in vaccines in Gavi-supported countries will bring a return of US$ 21 in saved healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity due to illness. Taking into account the broader benefits of people living longer, healthier lives, the return on investment rises to US$ 54 per US$ 1 spent.

“A generation of children have been protected against some of the world’s deadliest diseases with support from Gavi – more than 763 million in total since 2000, preventing the deaths of 13 million people,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “It has taken a momentous effort from the thousands of vaccinators, health workers and partners that make up the Vaccine Alliance to get to this point. But with headwinds like climate change, fragility and conflict making our job harder and harder, we need a renewed focus to minimise the risk of back-sliding even in strong performing countries, and to ensure that the next generation doesn’t go without lifesaving vaccines.”

The WHO and UNICEF 2018 Estimates of National Immunisation Coverage figures also show that:

  • Coverage for rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in low-income countries is now higher than the global average, thanks largely to Gavi’s support for the two vaccines’ introduction into routine immunisation programmes throughout the developing world.
  • Coverage in Gavi-supported countries with the first dose of measles vaccine (MCV1) has increased by 3 percentage points between 2015-2018.
  • The average coverage across all recommended Gavi-supported vaccines increased by 10 percentage points (from 42% in 2017 to 52% in 2018).
  • New survey data led to significant upwards revisions to the historical coverage estimates of Nigeria, Uganda and South Sudan, whereas Laos saw a significant downward revision.

The Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC) is coordinated by a Secretariat based at Imperial College London and overseen by a Scientific Advisory Board composed of representatives from WHO, UNICEF, UN Population Division, Princeton University and the Wellcome Trust. The VIMC is funded by Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Notes to editors

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 760 million children – and prevented more than 13 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.

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