Vaccination lags behind in middle-income countries

Volume 569 Issue 7756, 16 May 2019


World View | 14 May 2019
Vaccination lags behind in middle-income countries
Poor children in relatively rich nations are being let down by immunization programmes
Seth Berkley, Gavi
Indonesia, Iraq and South Africa now rank among the ten countries with the highest number of under-immunized children worldwide, even though these countries are richer than many of their neighbours. What is going on?
Not so long ago, improving the health of the world’s poorest people meant focusing on the world’s poorest countries. That’s changing. Soon, the majority of the most vulnerable populations will be in middle-income countries (MICs), where gross national income per capita is between US$995 and $12,055 per year. Increasing migration, urbanization, conflict and climate change are causing inequities to yawn ever wider, despite United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind.
As the World Health Assembly meets in Geneva, Switzerland, next week, the development community must tackle an emerging conundrum: how do we increase access to vaccines, primary health care and other essential health interventions in countries that can — at least according to their gross national incomes — afford them?…