LAHORE - At least 27 per cent deaths of children under five are due to vaccine preventable diseases which could be avoided by increasing scope and reach of Expanded Program on Immunisation, said experts at a press briefing on Wednesday to mark World Immunisation Week.

Former Pakistan Pediatric Association president Prof Tahir Masood said that immunization was the most cost effective and a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases.

He added that ‘vaccines protect children by preparing their bodies to fight many potentially deadly diseases. They are responsible to control many infectious diseases that were once common around the world, including smallpox, polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Further, vaccines were considered second only to clean drinking water in controlling infectious diseases. Immunisation is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year, Prof Tahir added.

Prof Haroon Hamid, General Secretary of PPA Central and HOD Pediatrics Mayo Hospital said that every year, globally, Pneumonia kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five years, more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.