Keeping children safe
with life-saving vaccines

Home > What we do > Keeping children safe with vaccines

Today, thousands of children will die from diseases that are easy to prevent

Deadly diseases like measles, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis, diphtheria and whooping cough are all easily and cheaply preventable by vaccination. Yet every day, 16,000 children under five die, usually because they don’t get the health care and life-saving vaccines they need.

Unicef provides vaccines to immunise one in three of the world’s children against preventable diseases, and with our partners support immunisation programmes in over 95 countries to keep children safe.

Since 1980, Unicef has helped quadruple immunisation rates for children worldwide, saving up to 3 million children’s lives a year.

Today more children are protected than ever before, but there is still more work to be done.

Watch Ewan McGregor on a 360˚ journey to end polio



Unicef provided 2.5 billion vaccines in 2016, helping protecting almost half of the world's children under 5.

In an emergency, vaccines are not forgotten

In the midst of a crisis – whether it’s the ongoing brutality of war or the immediate chaos of natural disaster – we deliver vaccination campaigns to help protect vulnerable children when health services are down. Last year, in humanitarian emergencies alone, your donations helped vaccinate 20 million children against measles.

Before the crisis in Syria, 90% of children got routine vaccines. But since the conflict started more than six years ago that number has fallen dramatically, to around 60%. Unicef has helped to vaccinated more than 3 million children across the region.

Louai, 4, is vaccinated in Aleppo as part of Syria's first nationwide routine vaccination campaign since the start of the conflict.

We protect children from malaria, too

Malaria is one of the greatest dangers for children in sub-Saharan Africa, killing one child every minute. Malaria is spread via mosquitos, so children in malaria countries are in most danger when they’re asleep. Malaria symptoms include fever, headache and vomiting. If not treated, malaria can be deadly.

There’s currently no malaria vaccine, but Unicef is one of the world’s largest distributors of mosquito nets to protect children from mosquito bites. In 2015 Unicef delivered 22.3 million mosquito nets to help keep millions of children and their families safe.

These children in Chad are protected from malaria-carrying mosquitos by mosquito nets. Photo: Unicef/Chat 2011/Kelley Lynch

These children in Chad are protected from malaria-carrying mosquitos by mosquito nets.
Unicef/Kelley Lynch

A donation to Unicef can help keep a child safe

Donate now