Immunization and Vaccine Development (IVD)

Immunization in the South-East Asia Region

Woman with baby, Timor-Leste
WHO/Timor-Leste/S Singh

Vaccines are widely recognized as one of the most cost-effective and successful public health interventions. Across the South-East Asia Region, immunization has prevented millions of deaths and disabilities, achieved dramatic declines in once highly-endemic diseases, stopped the transmission of wild poliovirus, eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus, and significantly reduced the transmission of measles, Japanese encephalitis, and hepatitis B viruses.

Strong immunization systems built over the past decade ensure that over 32 million infants are now fully immunized annually and more than 90% of the population in the Region is accessing the benefits of life-saving vaccines.

"These achievements are an immense source of pride and testimony to the work of political decision-makers, and the millions of health workers and volunteers supporting immunization programmes. Through our collective effort we have the power to fortify and expand routine immunization across the Region. We have the power to prevent, control and eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles.”

- Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region

Immunization Highlights

Hepatitis B – vaccines protect

Four countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region have achieved another public health success through immunization. The Regional Expert Panel for Verification of Hepatitis B Control has verified that Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have already achieved the 2020 target of ≤1% hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence among children aged 5 years. Strong routine immunization systems and dedicated health workers use vaccine as a powerful tool very early in life to prevent chronic hepatitis B infection which may later developed into life threatening complications like liver cirrhosis or cancer.

10th Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ITAG) meeting

The WHO South-East Asia Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ITAG) held its 10th meeting from 9 to 12 July 2019 in New Delhi, India to review the progress of national immunization programmes towards the strategic goals outlined in the Regional Vaccine Action Plan 2016-2020 (RVAP). National and international immunization partners discussed progress and challenges related to measles elimination and rubella control, strengthening routine immunization, maintaining polio-free status and elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus, accelerating hepatitis B control, introduction of new vaccines and access to high quality vaccines. During the meeting it was announced that Sri Lanka has become the fourth country in the Region, after Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste, to eliminate measles and control rubella, a flagship priority programme of WHO in the Region, ahead of the 2020 regional target.

South-East Asia Regional Expert Panel for Verification of Hepatitis B Control (REP)

Following the establishment of a South-East Asia Regional Expert Panel for Verification of Hepatitis B Control (REP), the REP held its first consultation in New Delhi, India 28-29 May 2019. The consultation reviewed the current status of the global and regional situation of hepatitis B control, finalized the ‘Guidelines for verification of achievement of hepatitis B control target through immunization in the WHO South-East Asia Region’ and prepared a workplan and timeline for verification. Experts in the panel are health specialists from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, an academic institution in Australia and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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About IVD

The Immunization and Vaccine Development (IVD) Unit supports the protection of the people of South-East Asia from vaccine-preventable diseases by strengthening routine immunization systems, supporting supplementary immunization campaigns, assisting the introduction of new vaccines, strengthening disease surveillance, encouraging research and development and ensuring vaccine safety and quality.

South-East Asia Regional Vaccine Action Plan 2016-2020

The Regional Vaccine Action Plan describes a set of regional goals and objectives for immunization and control of vaccine-preventable diseases, based on those recommended in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP):

1. Routine immunization systems strengthening » 2. Measles elimination and rubella/CRS control » 3. Maintaining polio-free status » 4. Maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination » 5. Japanese encephalitis accelerated control » 6. Hepatitis B control » 7. Introduction of new vaccines » 8. Access to high quality vaccines »

Data for action

Measles elimination

As of August 2018, endemic measles has been eliminated in Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Maldives and Timor-Leste

Meetings and Reports

Technical oversight

EPI Fact Sheets 2017

Maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination

Contact us

Immunization and Vaccine Development
Regional Office for South-East Asia
Red Fort Capital Parsvnath Tower 1 (6th floor)
Bhai Vir Singh Marg, Gole Market,
New Delhi-110 001, INDIA

Telephone: +91 11 2337 0804
Fax: +91 11 2337 0106