This blog originally appeared on The Rockefeller Foundation. Below is an excerpt.
Vaccines are nothing short of miraculous. With a tiny amount of information, vaccines trigger our immune systems to develop defenses that neutralize deadly diseases – enabling us to prevent and even eradicate some of the worst illnesses in human history and protect the health and well-being of generations to come.
But vaccines don’t deliver themselves, so it is important that we pause, every year during World Immunization Week, to recognize the importance of the programs – and people – around the world that deliver these lifesaving tools.
While this is an opportunity to celebrate remarkable progress, this year we’re marking a different, but equally major milestone – though I’m sad to say it’s not a positive one: challenged by the pandemic and the many ways it interfered with routine immunization, countries around the world are experiencing the biggest sustained backslide in vaccine coverage in 30 years. To respond to this challenge, the World Health Organization and other immunization partners have launched The Big Catch-up, a campaign to rebuild hard-won progress on vaccination.
In 2022, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the Global Vaccination Initiative (GVI), a two-year investment to address immediate Covid-19 vaccination inequities facing low- and middle-income countries. Since then, the GVI has driven progress on vaccination by supporting leaders to build deep regional knowledge-sharing networks, derive insights from timely data, and communicate accurate information to vulnerable communities. While these lessons came in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they are applicable to routine immunizations and the promise of health and well-being that they deliver.
As we head into the GVI’s second and final year, we’re applying many of lessons learned – among them, the importance of listening to communities, partnership, and most importantly trust – and the need to apply these principles to the health challenges we’re facing due to climate change.
Explore the GVI’s lessons and country experiences with trust and community listening, data and digital tools, and knowledge sharing networks.