Immunisation and vaccines

Vaccination protects people against serious and life-threatening infectious diseases, such as influenza (flu), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), meningococcal disease, invasive pneumococcal disease and polio.

Each year, vaccination stops 2.7 million people worldwide from getting measles, one million from getting pertussis and two million babies from getting tetanus.

In the past, many people died of diseases that can now be prevented through vaccination. People also suffered more commonly from disease-related complications, such as blindness due to measles and babies born with deafness, cataracts or learning disabilities due to their mothers getting rubella in pregnancy. Polio - as many people born before the 60's will remember - used to be a major cause of death, paralysis and lifelong disabilities in Europe and other regions.

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