Blog Posts Address Goal Of Universal Immunization

World Immunization Week (April 21-28) aims to raise awareness that immunizations avert two to three million deaths annually, but an estimated 22 million infants are not fully immunized with routine vaccines. The following blog posts address childhood immunizations.

  • Seth Berkley, Project Syndicate: “[B]y avoiding illness, infants have a greater chance of growing into healthier children who are able to attend school and become more productive members of society,” and rather than caring for a sick child, their parents are able to work more and spend less on medical bills, Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, writes. “What all of this means is that by measuring the effectiveness of vaccines merely in terms of ‘lives saved,’ we could be seriously underestimating the full extent of the benefits that they offer,” he states, adding, “Investment in vaccines is not about short-term savings, either in terms of lives or economic costs; it is about providing children with lifetime protection and the ability to realize their full potential.” Berkley concludes, “So, while reducing mortality is already reason enough to want to immunize every child on the planet, now we have the added motivation that we are not just saving lives, but also helping to improve many more lives in the process” (4/18).
  • Amanda Glassman and Denizhan Duran, Center for Global Development (CGD) blog: Noting global health leaders declared this to be the “Decade of Vaccines” and the WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), Glassman, a senior fellow and director of global health policy at CGD, and Duran, a CGD global health policy research assistant, write, “So three years into the ‘Decade of Vaccines’ and on the occasion of World Immunization Week, we ask: how will all 194 countries be held accountable to these goals moving forward?” They note, “In the journal Vaccine’s Decade of Vaccines supplement — a collaboration featuring 30 articles on different aspects of vaccination — we propose a way to rank and compare countries in terms of their commitment to vaccination.” They explore their findings and write, “Almost 200 countries have signed on to the Global Vaccine Action Plan, but this plan will only achieve its targets if immunization is perceived as a truly global effort and the laggards — concentrated in middle-income countries — are incentivized to perform better, and are given a hand” (4/22).
  • Dagfinn Hoybraten, “[T]he unacceptable reality is that 22 million children under five in developing countries are missing out on basic vaccines,” Hoybraten, chair of the GAVI Alliance Board and secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers, writes, adding, “The good news is that, this week alone, four countries — Haiti, Somalia, Uganda and Zambia — will introduce new vaccines with GAVI support.” He notes, “To date, GAVI has supported 14 countries to introduce the rotavirus vaccine and plans to reach five million children with the [pentavalent] vaccine.” Hoybraten continues, “Scaling up immunization programs in poor countries would not be possible without continued support from GAVI’s generous donors,” and “[w]e are grateful that most of GAVI’s donors provide long-term predictable funding.” He concludes, “World Immunization Week is a chance to celebrate global achievements in vaccination, but also an opportunity to acknowledge how much we still need to do” (4/22).

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