Published: 30-04-2023 14:09 | Updated: 12-05-2023 14:07

Vaccines do not save lives, vaccinations do- State of the World's Children

Young girl in headscarf holds up littlefinger that has some black paint on it.
Photo: Unicef

UNICEF Sweden, UNICEF Office of Innovation and the Swedish Network for Global Child Health hosted a seminar to discuss The State of the World’s Children (SOWC), a bi-annual report published by UNICEF. This year it focuses on routine childhood vaccinations. Tobias Alfvén and Stefan Swartling Peterson from Karolinska Institutet moderated the panel discussions From Vaccine to Vaccination and Convergence of State of the World's Children and EU global health strategy.

In 2022, UNICEF and WHO sounded the alarm on child health. Annual immunization figures showed the biggest sustained backsliding in childhood immunization levels in a generation – with almost 30 years of progress wiped out. Over the pandemic, tens of million children missed out on their essential and routine vaccines, an increase on the millions already missing out, and who are now at risk of deadly diseases and outbreaks. This is a red alert for child health and global health security.

"Vaccines themselves don’t save lives, but vaccinations do. As raised in the discussion from the panel From Vaccine to Vaccination, in times of different ongoing crises, we must make sure that the political focus remains on the importance of investing in vaccination and immunization. If we neglect vaccination programs again, we will create further problems in the future", says Professsor Tobias Alfvén.

Technology, data and social innovation are key enablers towards transformational change in the vaccine and immunization agenda. The launch of the State of the World's Children report is a milestone moment to gather political will and action and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaboration on accelerating the progress on the health-related SDGs. It will also initiate UNICEF’s year-long vaccine advocacy campaign and call to action to reach every child with all essential vaccines.

The seminar took place at the Swedish Society of Medicine, April 24.

Participants at the seminar on State of the World's Children, at the Swedish Society of Medicine.
Participants at the seminar on State of the World's Children, at the Swedish Society of Medicine. Photo: Private