The Next Billion: Measles Immunizations Reach Milestone


By Peg Willingham, Executive Director of the Global Vaccines Campaign, UN Foundation

A significant milestone in the global effort to eliminate measles has been reached: †the Measles Initiative has immunized its one billionth child.

Ten years ago, the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization formed a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally: †The Measles Initiative.

In 1980, measles was one of the most deadly childhood diseases. In fact, it caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. Thanks to governments, the United Nations, and the Measles Initiative, this is no longer the case.

Measles mortality has decreased by an impressive 78 percent worldwide. The decline in measles-related deaths — from an estimated 733,000 deaths in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008 — accounts for nearly a quarter of the overall decrease in childhood mortality.

With support coming from all corners of the world, the Measles Initiative has stopped outbreaks, improved treatment, and protected one billion children from one of the deadliest diseases. This is incredible progress and shows what we can accomplish with continued commitment to helping the next billion children live healthier lives.

But (there’s always a but) we canít stop now. Progress is fragile, and measles could come back with a vengeance if we don’t continue to immunize children.

It’s time to think about the next billion children and how we can protect them from not only measles, but the many other deadly — and vaccine-preventable — diseases.

In May, I traveled Mozambique, where I met mothers who had walked more than 15 miles to make sure their child received their measles vaccines. We can help make sure they have access to those vaccines.

Every hour, nearly 300 children around the world die of diseases — like measles — that could easily have been prevented with vaccines.

Through smart investments in life-saving vaccines, we can protect the next generation of children from measles. We can eliminate polio. We can immunize children in developing countries against one of the biggest killers: pneumonia.

By expanding access to vaccines around the world, we can help give the next billion children a chance at a healthy and happy life.

That’s why the UN Foundation and its partners are launching a new global vaccines campaign in September. By raising awareness and funds, advocating for greater commitment in Washington, and working with the UN, this campaign to decrease vaccine-preventable child deaths and give every child a shot at a healthy life.

This post was originally published by the United Nations Foundation.

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Moms in Kenya: A Trip in Pictures

An Oasis of Hope for Women with None

Measles Cases Up Tenfold in UK; Almost 5000 Cases in France This Year

All photos are from Stuart Ramson/UN Foundation via Insider Images.


Rosemary G.
Rosemary G6 years ago

It's a start now lets move on to getting more kids well.

Meris M.
Meris M.6 years ago

Perhaps vaccinations help save lives in developing countries, but I'm not fully convinced of this. In developed countries, the situation is quite different.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a vaccination schedule for the United States comprising 70 doses of 16 different vaccines for babies and children from the day of birth to the age of 18. No country in the world vaccinates as early or as often as the United States. The necessity of several of these vaccines has been contested.

On the day of birth, a baby receives his/her first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. This vaccine, like all others, has side effects which can be quite toxic and is for a disease which children are unlikely to contract. It protects against a certain type of liver cancer which is rare in developed countries. The vaccine is basically recommended for health professionals working in certain hospital services and blood banks.

Regarding the vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), destined for adolescent girls, and now even recommended for boys from age 11, certain independent health experts do not recommend wide-scale HPV vaccination in countries which have a very low mortality rate for cervical cancer. Among the reasons given: the vaccine is only 80% effective since several types of HP virus are involved; such mass vaccination would be very costly compared to economic benefit; in adding this vaccine to others, the immune sysem would be further weaken

Helena Plum Bowyer
Helena B6 years ago

Yvonne: The researcher that realised that older people were now getting shingles in high numbers was fired from her job from pointing this out. Shingles is far worse than Chicken Pox and costs more to treat.
Some of these childhood diseases strengthen our immune system. Obviously if we are malnourished these diseases are more dangerous.

And S.
And S6 years ago

The CDC even reported a measles
outbreak in a documented 100% vaccinated population. A study examining this phenomenon concluded, "The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons." A more recent study found that measles vaccination "produces immune suppression which contributes to an increased susceptibility to other infections." These studies suggest that the goal of complete "immunization" may actually be counter-productive, a notion underscored by instances in which epidemics followed complete immunization of entire countries

Some of you should get your facts straight,vaccines are poison.Look up the Hannah Poling case vaccines caused her illnesses.

Kathy D.
Kathy D6 years ago

My sons were not vaccinated and if you all will do the research you will find they use aborted baby tissue in some of the vaccines( for all the anti-abortion people) on top of dead animal tissue( for all the vegans) it is quite gross what they are pushing. Granted there may be some safe vaccines but a lot cause allergic reactions and sometimes death. I was vaccinated for measles both German and regular which I got them both. I got a slight case of polio which gave me a curvature of the spine. I got deathly ill from some of the vaccines which my mother did not link to. I think people need to research what they are getting and not go blindly into it. Unfortunately in poorer countries they have no advocates and will not get all the facts. Oh and by the way Bill Gates owns and has recently bought more stock in The dreaded MONSANTO! So his judgement is a little skewed I 'd say.

Ruth R.
Ruth R6 years ago

This is very good and keeping the shots good is important. Thank goodness.

Susan V.
Susan V6 years ago

wow...looks like Bill Gates is getting his way...these poor kids will probably never have children!

Lyn Miller
Lyn Miller6 years ago

Ok, parents. If you decide to not vaccinate your son for mumps and he gets the mumps after he goes through puberty, he will become sterile. How much are you willing to bet that he will escape getting mumps altogether?

And how do you think we've nearly eliminated polio, which used to kill or paralyse hundreds of children every year? How do you think we totally eliminated smallpox? Vaccines!

You can decide to stand in the middle of that river in Egypt, or you can start believing the truth: Children and adults still die from "childhood diseases." It isn't common, but if affects you or your family that doesn't matter.

Christine S.

I am glad so many kids will not get measles!

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

How many vaccinations are now required for children? Which might be necessary and which are not?