Vaccines and immunisation

19.4 million children under one-year-old are still missing out on immunisation.

We're fighting to achieve universal immunisation coverage for children. Photo: Tommy Trenchard/Save the Children


Despite incredible progress, 1 in 7 children around the world miss out on life-saving vaccinations. We’ve been fighting to achieve universal immunisation coverage for children, working around the world to try and give all children a healthy start in life.

We want to reach every last child

While 86% of children around the world now receive the most basic vaccines, such as pneumonia, measles and hepatitis B, many are still left behind.

Two-thirds of children living in a country affected by conflict are not immunised.

Children from marginalised groups are more likely to be denied access to immunisation – 400 million children are at risk of being excluded, simply because they belong to a certain ethnic, religious or indigenous group, or because they’ve been affected by migration and are on the move.

The fact that these children are being left behind is no accident. Sadly, it’s the result of neglectful policies and programmes, which fail to prioritise certain children and the communities in which they live.

Immunisation saves lives

It’s one of the most cost-effective ways we have of preventing illness, with an economic return of around £12 for every £1 invested.

When used effectively, immunisation can help to prevent millions of deaths – between 1990 and 2015, preventable child deaths decreased by 50%, from 12.7 million to 5.9 million.

How your donations help us

With your help, we can ensure that every last child thrives and survives.

We’re calling on national governments, global institutions and the private sector to do what they can, and we're already seeing steps towards universal immunisation coverage.

They have the power to turn political commitments into actions. We’re putting the pressure on for them to strengthen countries’ immunisation and health systems, and to make vaccine prices more affordable.

Globally, we fight to raise the importance of universal access, working to make sure that all children, regardless of where they are born, can enjoy the full benefits of immunisation.

This includes emergencies, where we have helped put into effect routine immunisation services as part of our emergency response programmes.

Find out more about how we're striving to achieve immunisation for all.

Helping those most in need

By working with national health ministries, we’re able to help strengthen systems in countries that are most in need of our help.

We’re assisting these countries in the delivery of routine immunisation services, including Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tanzania.

A Minsitry of Health worker prepares a Yellow Fever vaccine. Photo: Tommy Trenchard/Save the Children

The right vaccines and equipment

It’s crucial that the correct vaccines, and the equipment used to store them, are made available to everyone, especially in rural and remote areas.

While governments are paying towards research and development (R&D) to help, it’s not doing enough to ensure that the right vaccination products are available to everyone, including children, in low-income countries.

The companies making the vaccines have a key role to play, but there’s also a need for more public investment and better systems in place that will work harder for countries with fewer resources.

Success can happen. We’ve seen it with the MenAfriVac® vaccine. This provides a low-cost, tailor-made vaccine against meningitis A, and was developed specifically for sub-Saharan Africa.

Find out more.

Last updated March 2017.