UNITED NATIONS, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organization (WHO) have announced that 12.9 million infants, nearly 1 in 10 did not receive any vaccinations in 2016 across the world, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told a daily briefing on Monday.
"This means that these infants missed the first dose of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP)-containing vaccine, putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases," said Haq.
In addition, an estimated 6.6 million infants who received their first dose did not complete the full series, the UN agencies reported.
UN statistics also show that since 2010, the percentage of children who received their full course of routine immunizations has stalled at 86 percent, with no significant changes in any countries or regions during the past year.
"This falls short of the global immunization coverage target of 90%," said Haq.
According to the WHO, immunization currently prevents between 2-3 million deaths every year, from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions.
Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals at WHO, said most of the children that remain un-immunized are the same ones missed by health systems and "these children most likely have also not received any of the other basic health services."
"If we are to raise the bar on global immunization coverage, health services must reach the unreached," said Okwo-Bele.