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Global vaccination saved 154M lives in past 50 years – WHO

Geneva, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) In the past 50 years global immunization has saved 154 million people, equivalent to six lives every minute, and most of them were babies, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported Wednesday.

The study, led by the WHO, shows that immunization is the single most significant contribution of any health intervention to ensuring babies see their first birthdays and continue leading healthy lives into adulthood.

Of the vaccines included in the study, the measles vaccination had the greatest impact on reducing infant mortality, accounting for 60% of the lives saved due to immunization.

Over the past 50 years, vaccination against 14 diseases has directly contributed to reducing infant deaths by 40% globally, and by more than 50% in the African Region.

“Vaccines are among the most powerful inventions in history, making once-feared diseases preventable,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Thanks to vaccines, smallpox has been eradicated, polio is on the brink, and with the more recent development of vaccines against diseases like malaria and cervical cancer, we are pushing back the frontiers of disease.”

Tedros said that with continued research, investment, and collaboration, the world could save millions more lives today and in the next 50 years.

The study further found that for every life saved through immunization, an average of 66 years of full health was gained.