Peter Graves | Canberra Times | 26 July 2017

Thanks to Helen Evans for outlining the important place vaccinating children has in Australia’s overseas aid program. (“Australia is not immune: short memories are no excuse for not vaccinating young children”, CT, July 24, p14). Unvaccinated, 1.5 million children die worldwide from diseases that are preventable by immunisation. Australia did endorse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015.

Goal 3 – ensuring healthy lives – includes the target of ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age by 2030.

All countries aim to reduce neonatal mortality to under 12 per 1000 live births and under-five mortality to fewer than 25 per 1000 live births. Increasing immunisation is important towards achieving these laudable results, because there is good news.

Since 1988, the global incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99 per cent, and the number of countries with endemic polio from 125 to three. This has been due to vaccines, and more investment is needed to complete eradication. Meaning more children alive at five.