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Last update: Aug 2010

Current status   

DPT3 immunization coverage, 2009


DPT comprises a series of immunizations to prevent diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. To be fully immunized, children must receive three doses of the vaccine before their first birthday. Complete coverage with DPT (DPT3) is a particularly valuable indicator of countries' performance of routine immunization and is often considered the best indicator of access to basic services, including health services.


Basic immunization schedule recommended for all children by the WHO Expanded Programme on Immunization



* Oral polio vaccine is recommended at 6 weeks of age or later.  An additional dose of oral polio vaccine administered at birth is only recommended in endemic or recently endemic countries.

** IPV/OPV sequential option only.


For a comprehensive summary of recommended routine immunizations for children, go to http://www.who.int/immunization/policy/Immunization_routine_table2.pdf


Of the world’s 23.2 million children not immunized with DPT3, 16.2 million live in 10 countries




Absolute numbers of unvaccinated infants are highest in the most populous developing countries, some of which enjoy fairly high rates of immunization coverage. Efforts to raise global immunization will need a strong focus on the countries where the highest numbers of unvaccinated children live – while also ensuring that the countries where children are most likely to miss out on immunization are not neglected in the search for greater global impact.


Future directions

With renewed commitment, increases in routine coverage and the better availability of new vaccines, great progress can be achieved in reducing child deaths, even in the poorest countries and under difficult circumstances. Strategies to reach every district include re-establishing outreach services, district level microplanning, providing supportive supervision and linking communities with services.


In addition, campaigns such as those for polio eradication and measles mortality reduction have helped strengthen the cold chain and injection safety. Support from GAVI for the introduction of new vaccines, including training, demand creation and cold-chain expansion, helped boost immunization activities.