Childhood vaccination

Data last updated 1 Mar 2024
Measles vaccination is required
Measles vaccination is not required
Data not collected

Source: We consulted the national legislature websites for each country to find their childhood vaccination policies. These sites were accessed between October 2023 and February 2024. Information on measles came from the WHO Measles Fact Sheet and the WHO Measles Vaccination Coverage dashboard.

Measles, a viral disease transmitted via respiratory droplets, is one of the most contagious pathogens known, with an estimated basic reproduction number of 13. The virus can remain active and infectious for up to two hours in the air and on fomites. Measles is estimated to kill over 100,000 people per year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries with weak healthcare infrastructure. Disease morbidity is highly concentrated in children under the age of five. While there is no specific treatment for measles, prevention with vaccination is critical to reducing morbidity and mortality related to the disease. 

Measles-containing vaccines (MCV), often administered in the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccination are highly effective in preventing measles disease. An estimated 95% of a given population must be fully vaccinated with two doses of MCV to ensure herd immunity, yet in 2022, just 74% of the world’s youth population had completed the immunization regimen. In 2022, less than 80% of children in the African and Eastern Mediterranean WHO regions, as well as the Region of the Americas, received two doses of  MCV. Moreover, no WHO region achieved the 95% threshold of MCV coverage necessary for herd immunity. 

To encourage childhood vaccination, some countries make certain routine vaccinations mandatory for citizens and residents. Here, we track the diseases that have a legal mandate for children to be routinely vaccinated against measles. 

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