Advances in vaccinations and medicine are outpacing our ability to deliver these potential lifesavers to those who need them the most.
Concerted efforts by the international agencies and governments, coupled with a booming vaccine market, have greatly expanded immunization programs around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 86% of infants around the world received the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) vaccine in 2014, and more countries are gaining access to new vaccines every year. It is estimated that these vaccines prevent between two and three million deaths every year.
These numbers are undoubtedly cause for celebration, but they also belie the challenges that accompany such aggressive expansion. In particular, the infrastructural and logistical shortcomings of developing countries mean that the abundance of vaccines actually hampers the efficacy of immunization programs. Breakdowns in the supply chain need to be addressed in order for these programs to realize their full potential.