Not Immune: Children in conflict

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Save the Children Australia

We have made substantial progress in improving child immunisation coverage. In 2019, about 86 per cent of children worldwide received the scheduled three doses of DTP vaccine and one dose of measles vaccine – measures frequently used to determine the strength of a country’s routine immunisation programme – protecting them against diseases that can cause serious illness or death.

Sadly though, the percentage of children being fully vaccinated has stalled since 2010 – while high, the current coverage is far from sufficient. Almost 20 million children globally missed out on lifesaving vaccinations in 2018 [1]. In the same year, 13.5 million children under the age of one year were not reached by the most basic form of immunisation services – the initial dose of the DTP vaccine – and remain completely unimmunised (zero-dose). Those children being left behind from immunisations are very likely not receiving other basic essential health services as well.

If we are serious about protecting the health of the world’s most vulnerable children, the next decade of action necessitates that every last child affected by, or living on the frontlines of conflict, is prioritised and reached with life-saving vaccines.

Written by Rachel Coghlan from the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Deakin University, this report draws on information and evidence across more than 170 peer-reviewed papers and grey literature, as well as qualitative research of a small number of Save the Children’s immunisation campaigns for children affected by conflict.

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