Developing Countries: Vaccination

Department for International Development written question – answered on 24th June 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what comparative assessment he has made of the levels of take up of vaccinations internationally.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK believes all children should have access to lifesaving vaccines and is committed to supporting vaccination uptake internationally through our investment in Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In 2017 alone, 65 million children in the world’s poorest countries were immunised through Gavi support.

Immunisation coverage is the best way to measure vaccine uptake. Gavi monitor this at international, national and local levels. This provides an accurate picture of population immunity levels crucial to preventing deadly disease outbreaks. Through UK support to Gavi, immunisation coverage has increased substantially across the world’s poorest countries from a baseline of 66% in 2000 to 80% in 2017. This coverage is now on par with the global average of 85%. Despite the increased coverage, the UK remains concerned about reports of anti-vaccination campaigns and vaccine hesitancy. This has the potential to undermine hard-fought gains in protecting children from vaccine preventable diseases. Gavi recognises this and works through civil society and local community groups to address community concerns or fears and ensure that there is strong trust in vaccines.

The UK will support efforts to improve vaccine uptake internationally by ensuring Gavi’s future strategy focuses on increasing access to vaccines for the world’s most marginalised children and continues to work at local levels with civil society groups to address local concerns and counter false claims and misinformation. The UK’s hosting of Gavi’s Pledging Conference next year will also demonstrate this continued commitment.

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