Global control of infectious diseases by vaccination programs

  • Rudolf H. Tangermann
  • Hanna Nohynek
  • Rudolf Eggers
Part of the Birkhäuser Advances in Infectious Diseases book series (BAID)


In both industrialized and developing countries, childhood immunization has become one of the most important and cost-effective public health interventions. National immunization programs have prevented millions of deaths since WHO initiated the ‘Expanded Program on Immunization’ in 1974. Smallpox was eradicated in 1979, poliomyelitis is on the verge of eradication, and two thirds of developing countries have eliminated neonatal tetanus. Global immunization coverage was at 78% in 2005. Through their impact on childhood morbidity and mortality, immunization programs are contributing to reaching the ‘Millennium Development Goal 4’ — a two-thirds reduction of under-five mortality by 2015. However, the failure to reach more than 20% of the world’s children with existing vaccines was responsible for at least 2.5 million of an estimated 10.5 million deaths of children under 5 years, mainly in developing countries. Of these deaths, 1.4 million could have been prevented by vaccines currently recommended by WHO. Rapid progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of infectious diseases, immunology, and biotechnology has increased the number of candidate vaccine antigens available. Pressures are growing on public health decision makers to establish evidence-based ways to decide which new vaccines should be introduced on a large scale into national immunization programs. The gap in access to new vaccines between the developing and industrialized worlds is still wide, and wealthy countries are still the first to introduce and use new vaccines. Interest from countries and partner agencies in vaccination, as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions, continues to be strong, also due to rapid progress in biotechnology and vaccine development and the emergence of global infectious disease threats, including HIV/AIDS, SARS, and influenza. The establishment of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has focused global activities to support vaccination programs through raising considerable funds, and to assist especially poorer countries in improving and expanding their vaccination programs. Global efforts concentrate on further reducing the gap in the access to all existing vaccines between industrialized and developing countries.


Human Papilloma Virus Conjugate Vaccine Yellow Fever Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Immunization Service 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel/Switzerland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf H. Tangermann
    • 1
  • Hanna Nohynek
    • 2
  • Rudolf Eggers
    • 1
  1. 1.World Health OrganizationGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of VaccinesNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland

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