In June 2023 Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced that it has contributed to efforts to vaccinate over 1 billion children with routine vaccines since its establishment in 2000. The Alliance states that it is “on track” to immune 300 million children between 2021 and 2025, preventing between 7 and 8 million deaths and generating $80 to $100 billion in economic benefits. The figures were released at a conference co-hosted by the Spanish Government in Madrid and coincide with the publication of a ‘Raising Generation ImmUnity’ report.
Encouraging signs and emerging from COVID-19
Although there are areas for “additional effort”, particularly after the pandemic, such as “securing further cost savings from manufacturers” and “increasing countries’ own financial contribution”, Gavi is encouraged that the 57 Gavi-implementing countries are making progress. Data suggests that coverage across these countries increased by around 3 percentage points in 2022. This is a positive contrast to the 5% drop between 2020 and 2021.
“Gavi’s goal is to continue that catch-up while also reaching the millions of ‘zero dose’ children still missing out on life-saving vaccinations.”
Professor José Manuel Barroso is Gavi’s Board Chair. He commented that “for over twenty years” the operating model has been a “solution to the world’s immunisation challenges”.
“At no time was this more the case than in recent years, when [Gavi] has helped countries not only to weather the worst public health crisis in a century, but protect more and more people from deadly, preventable diseases.”
Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Indonesia’s Minister of Health, emphasised that “COVID-19 proved beyond a doubt the value of immunisation”.
“We built our response on top of a tried-and-tested immunisation system. With Gavi support, we can strengthen this platform to ensure our health system can withstand future outbreaks.”
Childhood and beyond
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, WHO Director-General is concerned about the “millions of children” who missed out on “essential vaccines” over the last three years. He stated that catching up these children is a “priority”.
“Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, are a critical part of the push to catch up, recover, and strengthen immunisation systems so each child can thrive.”
Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, was encouraged by Gavi’s “impressive milestone”.
“Yet the job is far from done. As health systems and the immunisation services they provide continue to recover from the impact of the pandmeic, it’s critical that we continue our joint efforts to ensure that children, everywhere, have access to routine vaccinations.”
She emphasised that it provides children with the “best shot at living healthy and happy lives”.
Apart from working on essential childhood vaccines Gavi also manages stockpiles of vaccines targeting Cholera, Yellow Fever, meningococcal disease, and Ebola. It also co-leads COVAX with WHO, UNICEF, and CEPI.
For many countries, there are pre-existing and emerging challenges to delivery of critical immunisation strategies. For Dr Abdelmadjid Abderahim, Minister of Public Health and Prevention for Chad, highlighted this point.
“In my country, where climate change and displacement are making it harder, not easier, to deliver health services – vaccines are an essential way to manage outbreaks and save lives.”
Dr Seth Berkley is Gavi’s outgoing CEO, and he echoed that the “outbreaks of infectious diseases will only increase due to climate change and population growth”.
“In addition to protecting a whole generation of young people against preventable diseases, our Alliance has delivered billions more doses of vaccines to help countries fight outbreaks and pandemics. Despite the increasing complexity of the world in which we operate, Gavi is having more impact than ever before, responding to a growing list of global health challenges.”
How can Gavi continue its momentum to reach another 1 billion children? Have you engaged with Gavi’s work or benefitted from immunisation support?
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