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With measles outbreaks currently spreading across Europe and the Midwestern United States, and meningitis infecting U.S. college students, health experts are doing something they never thought they'd have to do in early 2017: reminding people in developed countries that vaccines save lives.Sadly, in many other parts of the world, particularly South Asia, parents need no reminding that immunization saves lives.What they need is access to vaccines.On average, 90 percent of children in South Asia now receive vaccines for preventable illnesses such as tetanus, influenza, diphtheria, and pertussis, and the number of infants protected against hepatitis B has increased by nearly 60 percent in the last decade. Moreover, six countries in the region were declared polio-free in 2014, following extensive vaccination campaigns. Despite the region's progress, one in four children remain unprotected against diseases like measles and hepatitis, and the figures are even higher for major killers such as pneumonia and meningitis.In Pakistan, for example, officials in Punjab province, hoping to protect 1 million children from a common form of diarrhea, recently introduced the rotavirus vaccine.Vaccines are a proven tool for improving children's health and development.
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