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Within Reach: A redoubling of efforts should swiftly eradicate polio from its last strongholds
The global effort to eradicate poliomyelitis has been spectacularly successful, eliminating 99% of cases in its 26-year history. But that progress has begun to unravel in the past 18 months, with outbreaks in east and west Africa and in the Middle East. The lesson is clear: as long as the virus is allowed to persist in the three countries in which it remains endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria — exports of the disease will continue to affect other countries. A determined effort is needed to eradicate the virus from these endemic countries, and fast.

New Data from WHO - Immunization Rates Fall Short
More than 111 million infants received vaccines in 2013 to protect them from deadly diseases. These infants account for about 84% of the world's children, but an estimated 21.8 million infants remained unvaccinated, according to new estimates from WHO and UNICEF. The estimates tell a success story for the Expanded Programme on Immunization, namely that global coverage with vaccines, measured by the proportion of kids who received 3 doses of vaccines containing diphtheria tetanus-pertussis (DTP3), rose from 73% in 2000 to 84% in 2013, a substantial increase.

But the numbers still fall short of the goal set out in the Global Vaccine Action Plan, which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2012. That plan, which aims to prevent millions of deaths through more equitable access to vaccines, has a target of 90% coverage for all vaccines by the year 2020. The percentage of children who receive vaccines has been above 80% since 2006.

Immunization protects against an increasing number of diseases, from infancy to old age. With the slogan “Immunize for a healthy future: Know, Check, Protect” for this year’s World Immunization Week (WIW), we encourage you to check whether you, your family, and patients are up-to-date with the vaccines you need.  WIW coincides with the US’ National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) - a reminder that immunizations, like childhood, are universal!

Check out the scrolling slideshow below to to learn what "know, check, protect" means to our pediatricians.

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