Immunization can reduce child mortality and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight against other diseases

This 2013 review summarizes data from several randomized trials in which measles and tuberculosis vaccines were associated with a substantial reduction in overall child mortality, which cannot be solely explained by prevention of the target disease. These studies suggest that in addition to disease-specific effects, some live vaccines may also provide “nonspecific effects” that enhance the immune system’s ability to protect against additional pathogens.

Administration of vaccines can also decrease childhood deaths from other causes, above and beyond the expected direct impact of the vaccine

Three randomized controlled trials enrolling a total of over 6500 infants over 12 consecutive years in Guinea-Bissau found a 38% reduction in all-cause neonatal mortality associated with early vaccination with BCG. Revisiting these trials to explore the seasonal variation in this effect, it was found that early vaccination with BCG was particularly beneficial when administered between November and January, coincident with peaking malaria infections.