Each year, about 85 percent of the world’s children receive vaccines that protect them against tuberculosis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles. These vaccines save about 2.5 million lives, and the hepatitis B vaccine, although not as widely used, saves about 600,000 lives.
Despite this success, more than 3 million people die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year. Approximately 1.5 million of these deaths are in children less than 5 years old. Of the top 10 causes of death in those less than 5 years old, several are infectious, meaning they can be transmitted from one person to another.
Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD on March 28, 2018