Continued Investment In Childhood Vaccinations, Health Infrastructures Critical To Reducing Vaccine-Preventable Disease

Scientific American: Winning the Infectious Disease Marathon
Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Each year the number of children in need of vaccination increases and is likely to continue to do so for some years. This means that even to just maintain a steady level of childhood immunization we need to reach more children each year … There is, however, too much focus on mass immunization campaigns, which are often expensive, take health workers away from routine services, and often come in response to outbreaks. This detracts from where the real focus should be, strengthening routine immunization services and building strong primary health care systems. So, at a point when we could expect to see fewer children missing out in non-fragile than in fragile states, instead we are finding that we are not even keeping up with population increases. We have to get this under control again. This will require [a] new level of commitment from countries towards strengthening primary health care systems and will need continued investment in vaccine supply chains and real-time data systems. As the number of children vaccinated increases, and as we introduce new vaccines to broaden the level of protection against other diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea as well as liver and cervical cancer, this will inevitably place greater pressure on existing infrastructure, such as transport and fridge capacity. … With the continued support of WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, developing countries can continue to progress…” (8/1).