DECATUR, Ga., April 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — “Long life for all” is an appropriate theme for World Immunization Week this year, celebrated during the last week of April. In one short sentence, he highlights one of the most monumental tragedies that COVID-19 continues to reveal: large gaps in vaccine access and deployment in all regions of the world. These shortcomings, in turn, reflect unacceptable inequities embedded in countless areas of health service delivery systems around the world.
This unprecedented moment in history is also marked by advances in a myriad of new COVID-19 vaccine technologies, the development of which is being fueled by a massive influx of funding. Ultimately, these innovative breakthroughs should be able to help us anticipate and effectively manage the next respiratory virus crisis of the 21st century, whenever it occurs.
Real hope is in sight.
Today, however, inequalities in access to vaccines are slowing the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In plain terms, we are now being reminded that pandemic threats evolve in their trajectories depending on how countries are prepared to respond. Developing vaccines that reduce morbidity, mortality and economic loss and then rapidly deploying them to every corner of the world is the greatest challenge of all.
Our collective survival depends on how effectively we meet this challenge.
As we look forward to when every nation is in a state of reduced circulation of COVID-19, we must remember that influenza, whether seasonal or pandemic, remains a constant threat. By easing social restrictions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing – measures once necessary to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – we are undoubtedly creating opportunities for human influenza viruses to re-emerge. A new catalog of public health risks will result. Several epidemic scenarios could occur, the most concerning being an influenza pandemic as severe as that of 1918 which killed, proportionally, more people than COVID-19.
Less than 20% of the world’s low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries have a national flu vaccination programme, while only 6% of the flu vaccine doses produced each year are distributed to 50% of the world’s population . These data illustrate the scale of the challenge we face in developing seasonal and pandemic vaccination capacity that benefits everyone in the region. everything regions of the world equally.
the Ready2Respond The coalition believes that now is the time to harness the power of flu vaccine preparedness to prepare for the future. Seasonal influenza vaccination continues to provide the world, including low- and lower-middle-income countries, with a solid pandemic preparedness plan. Indeed, the presence of an effective influenza vaccination program in LMICs has proven to be a useful indicator of a country’s ability to rapidly deploy vaccines in the event of a respiratory virus pandemic. It is also time to recognize that influenza is central to the global health security conversation and must be funded accordingly.
During World Immunization Week 2022 and beyond, Ready2Respond welcomes and encourages collaboration with partners who want to take action to remove barriers to influenza vaccine access and support a Long life for everyone.
Methods Health Communications
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