As we usher in a new year, Shot@Life is proud to reflect on the success made in ensuring equitable access to vaccines for children around the world. 2020 saw the very successful replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In June, countries came together (virtually) and committed $8.8 billion over the next five years to Gavi. Shot@Life and our supporters also rallied in support of Gavi, helping to secure a $1.16 billion commitment from the U.S. government as part of Gavi’s replenishment, and an additional $4 billion in emergency funding pandemic response funding for Gavi, which will help ensure the rapid and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
While this pandemic has shown extraordinary cooperation and collaboration amongst scientists and pharmaceutical companies, resulting in a COVID-19 vaccine produced and distributed in less than a year, the world must now come together to support equitable access to COVID vaccines, testing, and treatment. The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partnership brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, philanthropists, and global health organizations (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, World Health Organization, and the World Bank) in order to achieve this.
The pandemic has also had some very disruptive side effects on health systems and has disrupted vital routine immunization and health services in many parts of the world, threatening the hard-fought progress in global vaccination coverage. There is more work to be done to simply get immunization levels back to where they were pre-pandemic, and with thousands of babies being born each day we must continue our work.
ICYMI: Shot@Life’s 2020 Impact
You can read more highlights from 2020 in our annual report.
Vaccines Are More Important Than Ever
Since April 2020, the ACT-Accelerator partnership, launched by WHO and partners, has supported the fastest, most coordinated, and successful global effort in history to develop tools to fight a disease.
With significant advances in research and development by academia, private sector, and government initiatives, the ACT-Accelerator is on the cusp of securing a way to end the acute phase of the pandemic by deploying the tests, treatments, and vaccines the world needs.
Earlier this month, COVAX, the Vaccine Pillar of ACT-A, released its first interim distribution forecast, which can be viewed here. However, while vaccines are now being distributed in vulnerable populations, current COVID-19 vaccination coverage paints an emerging picture of inequitable distribution:
More than 90% of the countries which are now rolling out vaccines are high- or upper-middle-income countries.
75% of vaccine doses administered were in only 10 countries.
According to a CNN analysis, the U.S. could reach herd immunity (estimated at 75%) by the end of 2021, if vaccination rates increase to 1 million shots a day.
Meanwhile, low- and middle-income countries expect to immunize 1 in 5 people by the end of 2021.
For further reading on the need for equitable vaccine distribution, check out our new blog: “Immunity Inequality” Will Loom Large, If We Let It.
Key Moments Look Ahead
February 19-20: UNA-USA’s Global Engagement Summit, typically held at UN Headquarters in New York City, is the largest annual gathering of UN supporters in the country, bringing together community leaders, college students, young professionals, and subject matter experts from across the country to delve into the mission and lifesaving work of the United Nations. To attend virtually, register here.
February 21: This Is Our Shot: Defeating COVID-19 Around the World – Join Shot@Life and UNICEF for a special event highlighting the importance of protecting global vaccination progress and featuring remarks from UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore; Professional Basketball Player, Jeremy Lin; Global Parenting Expert, Jo Frost; and more. To attend, register here.
February 22-23: Shot@Life’s Annual Champion Summit brings together more than 160 advocates, ranging from students and medical professionals to social influencers, to connect virtually and share information about the latest in global childhood immunizations. Speakers come from UNICEF and WHO, the CDC and Africa CDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi, and more. If interested in attending, please register here.