The last mile of polio eradication and the vaccination challenges it brings
We are close to a polio-free world, yet cases of vaccine-derived disease are challenging the eradication effort.
- 28 September 2020
- 6 min read
- by Priya Joi
The effort to eradicate polio is close to the finish line. In 2019 there were 542 cases, down from 350,000 in 1988. Polio would become the second disease that we’ve managed to eradicate since smallpox in 1980. It is important to note that two of the three types of wild poliovirus (WPV) have already been eradicated globally and it is only type 1 poliovirus that continues to circulate in just two remaining countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan. An historic milestone was reached earlier this month when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that wild poliovirus had been eradicated in Africa. Shortly after however came news of yet another outbreak in Sudan of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV). Sudan’s last confirmed case of WPV was in March 2009 but similar to other countries in Africa and in other regions of the world, is now faced with responding to a polio outbreak that is linked to the oral polio vaccine (OPV) that uses a live but weakened form of the virus.
1. How does OPV lead to cases of polio in some instances?
As the vaccine-virus is shed by vaccinated individuals, it can occasionally change its genetic make-up and spread in communities that are not fully vaccinated against polio, especially in areas where there is poor hygiene, poor sanitation or overcrowding. The vaccine-virus can continue to spread in an under-immunised population and recombine with other circulating vaccine viruses.
Over time, the attenuated vaccine virus can change to the point where it regains the ability to cause damage to the nervous system and paralysis, giving rise to a cVDPV. This is more likely to occur in areas where the vaccine-virus is allowed to continuously spread and is therefore associated with poor sanitation, hygiene or overcrowding and chronically low levels of population immunity to polio.
2. Why do countries continue to use OPV?
Although wild poliovirus circulation is now limited to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the risk of international spread remains, and is the basis for continued use of oral polio vaccines. Unlike IPV (inactivated poliovirus vaccine) – that has recently been introduced into routine immunisation programmes in Gavi-supported countries – oral vaccines are made from a live but weakened strain of the virus. OPV is capable of inducing mucosal immunity in the intestine, the primary site where poliovirus replicates. By doing so, the vaccine prevents shedding of the virus into the environment and can limit or stop person-to-person transmission. This is especially important in communities with poor water and sanitation infrastructure where people are more likely to be exposed to water-borne pathogens.
3. Since there is an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) that does not cause cases of polio, why do we still need to use OPV?
IPV provides individual protection against paralysis caused by poliovirus – wild and vaccine-derived. However, as it is an inactivated rather than a live weakened form of the virus, it does not trigger the same immune response as OPV and therefore is not effective in stopping active poliovirus transmission.
4. How important is vaccine coverage in preventing cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus?
A fully immunised population is a fully protected population. Hence, high and equitable vaccine coverage is the most important consideration when planning for the eradication of both wild and vaccine-derived polioviruses. However, the current scope and frequency of type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreaks presents particular challenges because overall population mucosal immunity against type 2 is low and continues to wane since the removal of type 2 OPV from national immunisation programmes in April 2016.
5. Did the pause in routine immunisation due to COVID-19 threaten progress against polio?
Yes. Routine immunisation coverage rates for all vaccines have in general been negatively impacted. In the case of polio, this means that there are widening immunity gaps for bivalent OPV (types 1 and 3) and IPV, thus facilitating ongoing transmission and increasing the probability of emergence of new vaccine-derived poliooutbreaks. Additionally, the COVID-19 pause was not only for routine immunisation but for outbreak response campaigns as well, further exacerbating the situation.
6. The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to transition out OPV use – is the withdrawal of OPV on schedule?
No, it is not. The gradual withdrawal of OPV started with a switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV (and the removal of type 2 poliovirus from OPV), yet this has not gone according to plan as evidenced by the spread of cVDPV type 2 outbreaks. While some cVDPV2 emergence following the switch was anticipated, particularly in the 12-18 months after the switch, the current scope and frequency of outbreaks is beyond expectations. It is now clear that different strategies and tools, i.e. vaccines – will be required to stop ongoing cVDPV2 transmission and prevent similar setbacks when eventual withdrawal of OPV1 and 3 is undertaken.
7. What is Gavi’s role in phasing out OPV and introducing IPV?
Gavi’s role has been primarily related to supporting countries in introducing IPV into routine programmes – initially a single dose and now with improved global supply – moving towards a two-dose schedule in order to improve immunity. Considerations for future OPV withdrawal will likely need to place greater emphasis on underlying routine immunisation coverage rates. Gavi’s coverage and equity agenda, and support to national programmes to strengthen delivery and coverage of children who receive no vaccinations at all (“zero-dose”) and under-vaccinated children, will be key.
8. How concerned should we be about news of cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus in Sudan?
We should be concerned by all cVDPV outbreaks. Sudan’s last reported polio case (a case of wild poliovirus) was in March 2009. Yet it has been considered at high risk for importation of polioviruses for several years, due to a decline in population immunity. With significant population movement across Sudan and neighbouring countries that are also reporting transmission of cVDPV2, the risk of further spread in and out of the country remains high. This underlines the necessity of an effective, high quality, high coverage response. More broadly, the Sudan outbreak is simply the latest in a growing number of cVDPV2 outbreaks in different regions that illustrates that the 2016 switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV has not been successful.
9. If OPV is no longer used, will IPV alone be enough, or do we actually need a new polio vaccine?
It is important to note that the removal of OPV is predicated on the eradication of wild and vaccine-derived polioviruses. Only once eradication is certified can OPV be fully removed, leaving IPV to provide continued protection to mitigate any risks related to poliovirus re-emergence. At the same time, it is increasingly clear that a new, more genetically stable live-attenuated vaccine is required. The development of novel OPV type 2 (nOPV2) has been accelerated and is in the process of obtaining Emergency Use Listing (EUL) to be used in cVDPV2 outbreaks.
10. Could vaccine-derived poliovirus threaten the eradication effort?
As long as the goal is a polio-free world – that is free of wild as well as vaccine-derived poliovirus – the emergence and spread of cVDPVs are a major setback and do threaten to at least delay achievement of a polio-free world.
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One in three unable to properly wash hands at home during COVID-19 – WHO-UNICEF. Progress on water, sanitation and hygiene ‘must quadruple’ to meet 2030 target. Investment and prioritisation needed ‘at the highest levels’.
Will the pandemic go out with a fizzle or a bang? And what does “living with the virus” actually mean, and when will we get there?
We must seize this opportunity to shape our COVID-19 response as a chance to achieve better equity and social justice. What better way to do that than to focus on zero-dose children?
Early results from several studies have found that pets can pick up COVID-19 from their owner – but they are unlikely to be dangerous as a result.
New mRNA tech transfer hub to be established in South Africa. Facility will provide training and licences for vaccine development. Less than one per cent in Africa have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The power sources used to keep vaccines cold used to be polluting and unreliable. We spoke to Alex de Jonquieres, Gavi’s Director of Health Systems and Immunisation Strengthening about how Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, became investors in solar…
Fake COVID-19 vaccines erode public trust in much-needed jabs and encourage vaccine hesitancy.
Before 1955, when a vaccine first made polio a preventable illness, the paralysing disease had to be treated. For many, the best option was the iron lung, a device that came to symbolise an era of anxiety in mid-20th century America.
New bioimaging technologies are pushing the boundaries of medicine. But poorer nations risk losing out on these advances. Investment in facilities and training globally is crucial to bridge the divide.
A reanalysis of 58 existing studies suggests that with COVID-19 being male or seriously overweight isn’t as risky as originally thought.
Guinea declares end of Ebola outbreak after 42 days without new cases. Outbreak resulted in 23 likely cases, 12 deaths since February. Success attributed to community buy-in, capacity building and vaccination.
This rare side-effect from the two RNA vaccines being rolled out might be concerning but the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.
Two doses have always been more protective than one, but the Delta variant has made the benefit of the second dose much greater.
The Immunization Agenda 2030’s new scorecard visualizes a journey toward pandemic recovery and global immunization progress.
Vaccinated people can still get infected with the coronavirus. So if you have symptoms of COVID-19, getting tested can protect others and help health officials keep an eye on the virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected turn out for almost all Malawi’s health services, including routine immunisation. One local CSO is using Community Mother Care groups to trace those missing out on vaccines, helping to ensure children are…
A major obstacle for COVID-19 vaccination programs to achieve higher and more equitable vaccine coverage throughout the world is vaccinating hard-to-reach communities.
The forecast is encouraging given the supply disruptions COVAX and countries with bilateral deals are currently experiencing, and the general challenges manufacturers are experiencing as they ramp up supply at historic speed and scale.
During the pandemic, researchers have treated Twitter as a sprawling and evolving historical document.
Eswatini received its first batch of 32 000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in late March. 12 000 came through the COVAX facility and 20,000 through a donation from the Indian Government.
What do the CEO of the Vaccine Alliance and the star of a hit US TV show have in common? They both want to raise awareness about COVID-19 vaccines and COVAX’s role in getting the world vaccinated.
Mary Mallon was branded a public menace and incarcerated after typhoid outbreaks across New York City were linked to her presence in the kitchen. Was she unfairly demonised?
People who are afraid of needles are twice as likely to be vaccine hesitant, new research shows.
A new paper suggests that plant- and fish-based diets lessen the chance of developing severe symptoms – but hold off from becoming vegetarian or pescatarian for now.
Accounts of previous epidemics – by Samuel Pepys, Daniel Defoe and Katherine Porter – warn of mistakes that we risk repeating.
After a devastating typhoid outbreak swept through Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, a new, more effective vaccine is bringing hope.
We remain locked in a deadly race with the virus. We will only win when we have created a “variant-proof” world that can keep a lid on the havoc caused by its troublesome mutations.
Amid the 28.4 million cases and over 300 thousand deaths from SARS-CoV-2, a second epidemic has hit India. ‘Black fungus’, clinically known as mucormycosis, is an infection currently affecting nearly 12,000 immunocompromised patients recovering…
Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 are less sensitive than PCR tests, but here we explain why you should never ignore a positive result.
Researchers think they've calculated the limit of human lifespan – but there's more to it.
COVID-19 vaccines were made in record speed, taking around 300 days from the moment the threat was first identified. But the world’s top scientists are aiming to overtake this world record in the next pandemic, aiming to make a vaccine in 100…
Non-specific illnesses, such as headache and fatigue, are common, as are mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Marginalized people suffer from being at the intersection of multiple challenges and barriers. Economic hardship has been a secondary epidemic in the LGBTIQ community. We need public health and support services that acknowledge difference.
The death toll from the pandemic has been devastatingly high, with the official figure standing at 3.5 million people, but the World Health Organization estimates the real number could be up to three times higher. Here’s why.
A significant number of post-covid patients suffer from syndromes that few doctors understand.
Our immune system is controlled by our "body clock" – an intricate 24-hour system which controls how cells function.
Social media has been much-maligned as a source of misinformation when it comes to vaccines. But for millions of Nigerians it is having the opposite effect, encouraging them to get their jabs.
In the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit, hosted by Japan, countries and industry came together to pledge support to the mission of making vaccines available equitably worldwide.
Several regulators have agreed the mRNA vaccine can be kept refrigerated for up to 30 days, making it easier to distribute in lower-resource settings.
With millions of COVID-19 vaccines now being delivered around the world, they are utilising a huge hidden infrastructure, built up over decades and spreading across the globe, with one ultimate goal: keeping the vaccines cool. How did these …
New waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in countries, such as Kenya and India, have exposed the poor management of oxygen supplies. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Professor Trevor Duke, an expert on [oxygen provision] and editor of…
Malawi’s Ministry of Health is using its structures to reach out to a small section of religious groups that are threatening the success of the country’s immunisation programme.
At the turn of the 20th Century, US researchers in Cuba made the historic discovery that mosquitoes spread yellow fever. The finding was not only a medical breakthrough; it would also make possible one of the world’s greatest feats of engineering…
Scientists think they may have caught a canine coronavirus in the process of adapting to humans.
Variants of interest and variants of concern seem to be popping up at an alarming rate. But how many of them do we really need to worry about?
In 1793, with the United States of America less than 20 years old, a yellow fever epidemic decimates the capital city, Philadelphia, and shines a spotlight on stark racial and social inequalities.
Death rates on the continent are higher than Asia, Europe, North America or South America, in large part because of a lack of resources and underuse of resources that do exist.
It's been argued that pandemics are the great leveller, but with COVID the opposite is true – and we can't afford to ignore it.
As Community Health Workers, Harriet Nankwanzi and Yusuf Maganda have built personal relationships with people in their communities who have over the years relied on their services to access vital health information.
Many countries are beginning to use wastewater monitoring to track COVID-19 outbreaks, but such sewage surveillance has a long history.
Health workers go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the children of Borno State, Nigeria, are vaccinated.
The pandemic is having an adverse effect on Malawi’s continued drive to provide all children with routine vaccines.
Reports of fully vaccinated people getting infected with coronavirus shouldn't cause alarm.
With tourism hit hard by the pandemic, camel riders in Northern Kenya have repurposed their herds to help spread the word about COVID-19 vaccines, using traditional healers to gain trust in the community.
In an unprecedented show of global solidarity, the world came together to back COVAX, a unique global solution aimed at making equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines possible.
A COVAX Manufacturing Task Force has been established to identify and resolve issues impeding equitable access to vaccines.
App-assisted vaccinator training is an approach that shows promise, write the team who ran a Gavi-supported pilot to trial a new screen-based learning mechanism in India. What’s more, amid the pandemic, the flexibility of learning from home,…
Dr Berkley is recognised alongside other world-changing vaccine champions in this year’s list for their part in the fight against COVID-19.
As the Spanish flu of 1918-1920 tore through America, a San Francisco mayor bet on the potential of face masks to contain the spread. Then, like today, the demand to mask up met resistance that blended distrust, ideology and gut feeling.
The indigenous people adopted measures that were more applicable to the challenges but also their reality. And I tried to illustrate that in my story.
Vaccination is likely to substantially reduce virus transmission by reducing the pool of people who become infected, and reducing virus levels in people who get infected.
Country and community perspectives on realising the targets of the Immunisation Agenda 2030.
The Biden administration’s decision to stop opposing a proposed COVID-19 waiver of certain intellectual-property rights under World Trade Organization rules is a welcome move. But ending the pandemic also requires scaling up knowledge and…
The pandemic has been tough for the 1.4 million Ugandans living with HIV, but the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine has brought some welcome relief.
Increasing vaccination coverage by even 1% can save thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical and economic costs.
As countries worldwide are suffering from COVID-19 vaccine shortages, sharing intellectual property and know-how, and easing trade bans on the export of raw materials, could ease supply bottlenecks.
Meningitis affects more than 30,000 people in Africa every year. Scientists use weather data to predict location and scale of impending cases. The prediction helps country-level health services to plan emergency responses.
Increasing skills and the availability of raw materials would be a bigger boost for vaccine production right now.
We cannot look back in the future and know we could have done more.
With 47 African countries now rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and over 17 million doses given on the continent, early insights from Africa’s largest-ever immunization drive offer hope, inspiration and early, yet vital lessons. Here, we shine a…
Investment in bedside oxygen production could make hospitals more resilient in the face of COVID-19.
The impact of COVID-19 threatens to reverse hard-worn strides in global health. Without immediate investments, we will miss our chance to save lives and help countries recover from the pandemic and build the human capital needed for a resilient…
Although it is only natural and proper for governments to focus on vaccinating their citizens first, it is important not to lose sight of the big picture. The only way we can beat COVID-19 is to defeat it everywhere, and the best way to do that…
Trying to control a pandemic can feel like being in a warzone, yet even as we fight COVID-19 we still need to keep one eye on the future and potential emerging pandemics. Dr Velislava Petrova, senior manager in vaccine policy and investment at…
Globally, antibiotic use in hospitals has surged since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and over-the-counter sales, legal in many countries, have soared. This is further fueling the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance, as bacteria evolve…
A new documentary tells a powerful tale of families overcoming every obstacle to protect their children from vaccine preventable disease.
In Uttar Pradesh, India, over 1,000 children die every day from preventable diseases. Gavi’s long-standing partnership with Unilever and Lifebuoy has helped to reach 2.5 million people with essential vaccines and soap, while also leveraging the…
Stories of reaching herd immunity were certainly premature.
Why a 19th century portrait of three southern Indian noblewomen is “one of the most important scientific pictures in the history of medicine in India.”
The R21/Matrix-M vaccine is the first to show promise of hitting the World Health Organisation’s target of 75% efficacy against malaria.
When the pandemic started, India defied expectations by having a milder outbreak than had been predicted. Now, it is seeing a deadly second wave that is bringing the country’s health system to its knees – so what is behind this, and how much is…
A cousin of Ebola, Marburg can kill nine out of ten people it infects, and international travel has taken it from Africa to Europe twice in the past 40 years. The virus has just hit Equatorial Guinea for the first time ever – what does this mean…
Scientists who study the post-illness syndrome are taking a close look at patients’ reports of this unexpected benefit of the vaccine.
The antiparasitic drug was thought to be a potential treatment for COVID-19, but there isn't sufficient evidence to recommend its use, despite widespread support online.
The prospect of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis makes it all the more urgent to have a firm vision of how the burden of public debt can be reduced once the coronavirus has been vanquished. For this reason, every country must work on itself and…
The pandemic has strained most countries’ health systems. Afghanistan has faced more hurdles than most.
We didn’t have to be stuck with needles.
Study suggests the risk of a serious brain clot is up to ten times higher in people with COVID-19 infections, compared to those receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVAX has a critical role to play in ending the acute phase of the pandemic. The initiative could also be a model for how we address some of the most urgent development challenges of our time, from climate change to poverty reduction.
The delivery of vaccines has gone a long way to alleviating the fears and pressure on healthcare workers in Eswatini.
New Covid-19 variants could potentially jeopardise a lot of the work that has been done so far to contain the pandemic. Sonia Gonçalves explains how genomic surveillance can help us track and contain them.
New research suggests people who exercise for 150 minutes a week are half as likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who are consistently inactive.
Maternal health in low- and middle-income countries hit hard by COVID-19. Global review analysed stillbirth, maternal death rates from 17 countries. Maternity care must be prioritised during global health crisis, says report
As long as there have been vaccines, a vocal minority of public voices have made it their mission to rile up their communities against vaccination. In Montréal, in 1885, those voices were successful – and the results were deadly.
The delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Eswatini through COVAX means the elderly now have the chance to protect themselves against the disease. VaccinesWork visits a vaccination session in Lobamba.
The seasons can affect transmission of the virus – but this will likely be dwarfed by the impact of public health measures.
Experience shows that innovative and evidence-based approaches, when executed well, can dent poverty. With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening to reverse hard-won global gains, the need for policy-relevant research, and for scaling effective…
Ending the COVID-19 crisis hinges on all countries being able to vaccinate their people. A lot goes into getting ready.
At the turn of the 19th century, news of a 1796 medical breakthrough called 'vaccination' started to spread around the world. A fascinating recent book, War Against Smallpox by Michael Bennett, traces the subsequent dissemination of the actual…
New data shows that investing in getting that first vaccination to children can be a turning point in getting them fully immunised.
The study found people bounce back from their mental sluggishness soon after emerging from isolation.
To mark one year of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the articles that answer the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.
The European Medicines Agency has concluded that there is a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and very rare blood clots. But what are these clots and how great is the risk?
In a huge country like Nigeria, ensuring the right people receive COVAX vaccines is not just a question of how, but where. Could geospatial technology, trialled during previous polio campaigns, make a difference?
A genetic trick called an integron plays an important role in helping bacteria do this.
Natural infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 may not lead to long-lasting immunity, so it is important to get the vaccine as well.
As the 19th century entered its final quarter, “vaccination” meant one thing: immunisation with cowpox against deadly smallpox. By the end of the 20th century, safe and effective vaccines existed against 26 killer diseases. In the second part of…
Currently approved vaccines incorporate viral proteins or the instructions for making them, but they do not contain any live virus.
Immunization and vaccination experts from around the world outlined the current state of the world’s vaccination campaigns while addressing the urgent needs and concerns regarding public trust in the efficacy of vaccines; access and challenges.…
History tells us that the end of pandemics are rarely – if ever – neat, uncomplicated, or even easy to date.
In the 19th century, yellow fever had taken hold of parts of Europe and the USA, especially the Deep South, killing thousands. Now mostly in Africa and South America, this mosquito-borne disease could spread at any moment, threatening public…
As early as the 1500s, efforts to halt the spread of smallpox included risky procedures designed to trigger immunity. By the 1800s, these methods – collectively termed “variolation” – had been supplanted by the earliest example of a new, safer…
The increased use of disinfectants could allow for the development of bacterial strains which are resistant to disinfectants.
On 15 March 2020, Somalia received 300 000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVAX Facility to protect frontline workers and elderly people with chronic health conditions from COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) hears…
In March, Mukami received her first COVAX vaccine dose. As a woman in her 60s living in Kenya, she has priority access to COVAX vaccines, alongside other high-risk groups like health care workers and people with underlying diseases. Here she…
On 22 March 2021, the world marked World Water Day, with the theme for this year’s celebration being “valuing water.” What can the long history of water’s connection with health teach us about its true value to the world?
Experts say there’s nothing new about the research underpinning the covid vaccines and that they were tested in more participants than many other approved vaccines.
What side are you on, paper or dryer? In either case, here's the bottom line on what to do after using the toilet.
By understanding the circumstances that make viral evolution more likely, we stand a better chance of staying a step ahead.
COVAX was designed to ensure the most vulnerable in every country get access to COVID-19 vaccines. But what about people in conflict zones or humanitarian settings that can’t be reached by government vaccination campaigns? Last week Gavi approved…
The key insights from the assessments to date present a high-level snapshot of country readiness to deploy COVID-19 vaccines based on initial findings from ongoing assessments in 128 countries.
To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on diseases other than COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.
Instead of working to make vaccines against each unique coronavirus or variant, what if we could provide broad protection across the field through an all-in-one coronavirus shot?
Wuhan investigation points to wildlife as likely source of COVID-19. Climate change and illegal trade are increasing risk of zoonotic disease transmission. Wildlife protection, surveillance of zoonosis are key to early detection of ‘spillover…
Ghana became the first African country to receive vaccines through the COVAX initiative in February. Meet one of the nurses spearheading the vaccination effort.
More than 100 years after the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, type A influenza virus not only poses one of the largest threats to the modern world, but the risk of spill-over of avian influenza from poultry to humans is growing.
For one year, 600 people tracked 20 types of coronavirus restriction in 186 countries – here's what they found out.
Whilst COVID-19 caught the world off guard, the speed at which it spread and the extent of its impact on people’s lives came as a great shock to most. However, some were not surprised at all.
Ghana became the first African country to receive COVAX doses in February, kicking off a mammoth logistical effort in the country to get these doses to the frontline workers that need them. #VaccinesWork spoke to the cold chain experts making it…
To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most-read articles on how countries have been navigating COVID-19 during an unprecedentedly challenging year for global health.
These results can help allay previous concerns in Europe about a lack of trial data for older people.
The tiger mosquito that carries the chikungunya virus is now moving into new habitats in Europe and America thanks to climate change. This means the once tropical disease could soon become a global pandemic threat.
The global response to the coronavirus pandemic, for all its flaws, has yielded impressive results by ignoring traditional bureaucratic and sectoral silos. That should spur us to raise our ambitions for global public health, with an emphasis on…
Accra, 18 March 2021 – COVID-19 vaccination in Africa is gathering pace, with more than 7 million doses so far administered. But the continent received vaccines later than other regions of the world and in limited quantity. A few weeks after…
Community vaccinators go where fixed health centres can’t reach. In Afghanistan, that means fighting Taliban injunctions, entrenched gender imbalances and difficult terrain, all to ensure the nation’s children are protected.
Time to get vaccinated!
In today’s blog post, we’re featuring a fierce and passionate female WASH advocate from Nigeria. Tariah Adams, a Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer for White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria and campaign mobilizer, she has a personal interest in…
At the end of the year 2019, we created an elaborate 2020 plan for our projects at Beyond the Classroom Foundation. As we got closer to our second project scheduled for the end of March, the government imposed a lockdown, banning all public…
Ebola has so far only affected African countries, and occasional cases outside of the continent have been rapidly contained. But the virus could mutate to spread more easily between people, making it more of a pandemic threat.
To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.
So far, homeschooling has been trial and error because it’s difficult to keep the twins calm and engaged for long periods of time. We have no fixed curriculum and use online educational programs as a guide.
After a difficult year, the vaccination roll-out is underway at Ghana’s premier medical facility, where health workers dare to hope that things can go back to normal.
John Nkengasong is the Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also the WHO special envoy for Africa. John spoke to CovidHQAfrica desk about a range of issues including his vision for the vaccines in Africa, and…
COVID-19 has demonstrated that viruses not only know no borders, but they also do not discriminate based on immigration status. Failing to take migrants into account in our vaccination efforts would hamper the effectiveness of these campaigns and…
To mark the first anniversary of #VaccinesWork, we look back at some of the most read articles on COVID-19 during an unprecedented year for global health.
Sales of medical devices that measure the oxygen saturation of blood are booming thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. But are they worth the investment?
Genetic sequencing has linked the recent outbreak of Ebola disease to a survivor of the 2014-16 West Africa epidemic, meaning the virus could have laid dormant in one survivor for over five years. What does this mean for our efforts to control…
Abuja, 12 March 2021 – As the second wave of COVID-19 affects the global health and economic community, the World Health Organization (WHO) is supporting government to engage strategic stakeholders as part of concerted efforts to reverse the…
With the historic global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in full swing, bottlenecks in the supply chain are inevitable as manufacturing output tries to keep pace with demand. A manufacturing supply chain summit last week outlined potential…
An army of volunteers help people who otherwise would have had difficulty securing a covid vaccination because of cumbersome computer or telephone registration systems.
For anyone who has worked on crop improvement in Africa over the last three decades, the flood of misinformation around vaccines evokes an eerie sense of déjà vu.
Nipah virus can kill as many as three out of four people it infects. Since the fruit bat that carries the virus often comes into contact with humans, here we explain why the development of drugs and vaccines for the disease is becoming…
Dr Paul Garner, a British infectious disease expert at the UK’s Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine caught COVID-19 early in 2020, and then developed Long COVID. Here, he talks frankly with Gavi about his experiences, how he recovered and how…
COVID-19 vaccine testing on children is just getting started, and only in adolescents.
The virus is always present in nature and when circumstances allow, it may jump from one species to another.
Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, many countries around the world imposed some form of quarantine to control its spread. What can the history of quarantine teach us about isolation and lockdowns now?
Researchers identify bacterial variants that may be evolving resistance to antimicrobials and vaccines.
Vivianne Ihekweazu (Lead writer): On the day marking one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Nigeria, this article reflects on the experience and lessons learnt from the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker as she led…
Overall efficacy is just one metric.
Stockpiles of this vaccine are going unused in France and Germany, and unfounded criticism of it may be partly to blame.
This is the third in a three-part series highlighting key lessons learned since the launch, four years ago, of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure optimal cold chain…
This is the second in a three-part series highlighting key lessons learned since the launch, four years ago, of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure optimal cold chain…
Leaders in global health have been working on COVAX – a global initiative to ensure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Some of the top jobs are held by a diverse group of women, so in honour of International Women's Day we'd like to…
For this year's International Women's Day VaccinesWork has interviewed a number of women leaders and front line workers who represent this year's IWD theme: #ChooseToChallenge
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Nighat Rani, a vaccinator in Pakistan, shows how her work rests on a bedrock of female empathy and understanding…
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Chizoba Wonodi, Founder of Women Advocates for Vaccine Access in Nigeria and Country Director at the…
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, epidemiologist and associate scientific director for CAPRISA – the Centre for…
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Professor Heidi Larson, Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, explains how gender can affect…
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Rathnamma P, an 'ASHA' in Bengaluru, India, explains how the country's army of one million female community health…
This International Women’s Day Vaccines Work is hosting a series of interviews with inspirational women from across the world. Here Anuradha Gupta, Gavi’s Deputy CEO, explains what ‘choose to challenge’ – this year’s IWD theme – means to her.
To make the world safe from COVID-19, we need everyone vaccinated, including children. To get back to normality, we also need vaccinated adults, ongoing safety measures, safe re-opening of schools, access to all recommended vaccines – and…
As political and public health leaders across the world work to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, what can they learn from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll getting jabbed?
Reaching the goals of the plan requires the best possible interaction between public and private -for profit and not-for-profit - healthcare sectors.
The first deliveries of up to 2.5 million doses of COVAX vaccines by autonomous drone began this week in Ghana.
Several vaccines that have become available have shown different levels of efficacy. So what is vaccine efficacy? Dr Lee Hampton, a paediatrician and medical epidemiologist with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, explains.
A vaccine that apparently protects animals against multiple strains of flu has been created by tethering a relatively unchanging part of the surface proteins found on the virus to nanoparticles.
As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, countries the world over are now faced with the daunting task of carrying out mass vaccinations. Here, one expert explains how her organisation is supporting rollouts in the US and offers insights into…
Real-world studies of vaccines aren't directly comparable with clinical trials, but their results are still good news.
COVID-19 vaccination campaigns using COVAX-funded doses commenced today in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the first global rollout.
This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines – from how they work and how they’re made to ensuring safety and equitable access – in WHO’s Vaccines Explained series.
Ghana is not only the first country to receive a shipment of COVAX vaccines, but it will be the first to broaden its reach by delivering them by drone. The new partnership with Zipline and UPS Foundation will see 2.5 million doses delivered this…
Even those that live in areas where the population has already been vaccinated would not be totally protected if the virus mutates elsewhere.
The first in a three-part series of blogs highlighting key lessons learned since the launch, four years ago, of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP), established by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure optimal cold chain…
Roald Dahl's daughter Olivia died of measles aged seven.
Minor side effects are a normal sign that the immune system is mounting a protective response following vaccination, although they aren’t universal.
Countries in the West Africa region are in a very different position to seven years ago. They now have the experience of the past as well as new tools to tackle Ebola.
Vaccine data from Scotland provides reassurance that the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will significantly reduce hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19 among older people after the first dose.
The continent is one of the most experienced regions in the world in dealing with disease outbreaks.
Maintaining antibodies in the blood requires creating certain long-lasting immune cells – but this doesn't always happen.
The pandemic won’t last forever, but the virus that causes COVID-19 might. Here we look at what we can expect over the next couple of years in a Q&A with Dr Lee Hampton, pediatrician and medical epidemiologist at Gavi.
The tracking of antibodies in Ebola survivors suggests they wax and wane, which could make vaccine booster shots necessary.
Saving the planet from catastrophic climate change will require not only a dramatic increase in funding for clean-energy research and development. We need innovation in policy just as much as in technology.
The world's most advanced economies will incur half the total costs associated with a failure to vaccinate poorer nations, which could exceed $4 trillion if only half their citizens are inoculated.
If we are to minimize the impact of future disease outbreaks, we must recognize the importance of immunization and invest in preemptive vaccine development, writes Tim Keys.
As wearing face masks in public becomes the new normal across the world, what can we learn from a country like Japan, where this has been a long-established practice?
The global effort to contain COVID-19 risks disrupting campaigns against other diseases. Will the fight to control the deadly rabies virus in India be among them?
The side effects of new SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are a result of immune system activation. While uncomfortable, they are both normal and expected. They are a sign that the vaccine is working.
The G7 has an opportunity to demonstrate global leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic by making the success of the international COVAX vaccine-access facility its top priority. Global solidarity is not only morally right, but also offers the…
Unprecedented international cooperation and focus have led to multiple effective and safe Covid-19 vaccines in less than a year, and created a blueprint for future vaccine development. Here's how
COVID-19 deaths differ among men and women but the differences are not reported. A project is building sex-aggregated data on COVID-19 globally. Such data is key to developing effective solutions to fight COVID-19.
It’s totally normal to experience side effects from COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s what you need to know.
Guinea is having its first Ebola outbreak since 2016, when West Africa experienced the biggest outbreak ever seen. Could the vaccine that contained previous outbreaks soon be redeployed?
With the first Covid-19 vaccines in short supply, how do governments decide who gets a vaccine first?
A new study suggests that historical traumas from the French colonial era may be associated with less trust in modern medicine and lower vaccination rates today.
Clinically significant SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to be here to stay, but multiple COVID-19 vaccines still have a role to play.
In Tanzania, the Ocean Road Cancer Institute is doing its part to ensure that people across the country can receive cancer treatment and care, regardless of their ability to pay.
Maina Modu is the programme manager for Routine Immunisation in Borno State, working with the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA). He coordinates the state emergency routine immunisation coordination centre activities.
The choice facing world leaders is simple: act now to tackle the hunger crisis, or pay a much higher price later. Immediate action will be cheaper and save more lives than responding only after multiple famines have taken hold and a generation’s…
As the pandemic brings long-standing health disparities into sharper view, community health workers are coming to the forefront in the public health response. This fast-growing workforce help fill the gaps between health care providers and low-…
By building on the lessons learned in 2020, it should be possible in the long term to compress vaccine development timelines still further. That would allow healthcare systems to stamp out disease outbreaks much earlier and save many more lives…
Antibiotic resistance has been a slow-growing scourge, fueled in part by relatively weak political support for implementing national action plans and surveillance systems. Because the problem is essentially the result of multiple systems failures…
In Pakistan, a life-saving game of immunisation catch-up is underway after the COVID-19 emergency forced over a million children to miss out on routine vaccinations.
Contaminated doorknobs and packaging probably aren’t the main way the coronavirus spreads. But don’t throw away the hand gel and cleaning products just yet.
The coronavirus is evolving, but which path it will take is far from certain.
Smallpox was one of the deadliest diseases in the world, but it’s the only one in history to have been eradicated globally. One Somali man sat on the frontline of this effort and can inspire the world today as we battle yet another devastating…
Face coverings have become a standard feature of pandemic life, but which mask is best for everyday use, and how should you take care of it?
The medical and moral imperative for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines is why COVAX was created. Co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (…
Researchers are already working to improve the current crop of mRNA vaccines. Hopefully this will help them become more practical and affordable for the entire world, not just first-world countries.
Research suggesting that one of the COVID-19 vaccines provides only minimal protection against mild-moderate infection caused by the 501.Y.V2 variant has raised concerns. But this doesn’t mean it won’t prevent severe disease and deaths.
Global access to HPV vaccine is vital, particularly in lower-income countries. Lessons learned from HPV roll-out could boost uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.
Scientists wanted to find out about the long-term effect of measles on the immune system. Scientific article for students.
Several COVID-19 vaccines may have now demonstrated their ability to prevent disease, but it was still not clear whether any could stop the virus being passed on. Now however a preliminary study suggests that some might also be able to reduce…
As World Cancer Day approaches amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to ensure continued access to HPV vaccines to eliminate cervical cancer around the world.
Dr. De Sousa has spent more than twenty years charting the highs and lows of polio eradication in Angola.
The single-dose vaccine showed promising results in preliminary data from a phase 3 clinical trial.
Punjab province introduces typhoid conjugate vaccine, taking the next step in protecting children from typhoid in Pakistan.
The results indicate that the vaccine efficacy in the UK was 89% for individuals who received at least two doses of vaccine. In South Africa, the vaccine efficacy was 60% in people without HIV.
With the World Health Organization inviting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to submit their candidates for evaluation, we examine the process from submission to Emergency Use Listing.
Manaus variant spreads faster and could carry higher risk of infection. Researchers believe new variant spread from Brazil to Asia. Fast, widespread vaccination is best way to slow down mutations.
Irene Baker* is a care assistant at a psychiatric hospital in England. She describes the challenges of caring for mentally ill patients during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A biologist explains what proteins do in viruses, how they interact with human cells, how the vaccine delivers mRNA into the cell and how antibodies protect us.
In a special one-off interview, PolioNews (PN) talks to both Aidan O’Leary (A-O’L) and Michel Zaffran (MZ) about the future of polio eradication.
Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates have turned the vaccine cold chain into hot news. But what is a cold chain? How does it work? And what does it have to do with equity?
We've gone from a novel virus to several COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year. Here's what we've learned from earlier vaccines to allow this to happen.
COVAX is forecasting it will roll out over 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in 2021. What does that mean for the world’s poorest countries?
The world’s most comprehensive study reveals all! A new study looking at the impact of vaccinations in 98 countries over the past 20 years concludes that 37 million people are alive today thanks to vaccines.
Scientists are working to understand what mutations of the virus mean for inoculation strategies.
Australia is set to get the green light to roll out the Pfizer vaccine any day now. There is a complex process behind this.
To achieve universal sanitation, we need greater investment and higher rates of sanitation coverage.
New research adds to the argument that the global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is the most optimal solution for a global economic recovery.
Don't panic if a second dose isn't available exactly when you need it.
In Zimbabwe, Friendship Bench, a community-based approach is providing solutions to people struggling with their mental health during this pandemic.
If vaccine efficacy can’t be assessed through placebo-controlled trials in future, how can we know if they are effective?
The initial concern that nervousness over the new vaccines would slow uptake doesn’t seem to have become a reality in the early days of COVID-19 immunisation, although it will be critical to maintain vaccine confidence suggests an Ipsos poll.
Scientists have observed that 501Y.V2 has quickly become "dominant" among multiple variants that have been circulating in the South African population.
It’s time-consuming but worthwhile: Residents respond to messages about Covid testing and vaccines when outreach teams speak their language and make a personal connection.
Without a vaccine, the worldwide economic impact of COVID-19 would have been $3.4 trillion a year. But even with a COVID-19 vaccine, unequal allocation could cost the global economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP.
COVID-19 is deepening global food insecurity, as the pandemic’s economic impact adds to existing challenges.
Vaccines that use harmless viruses as a delivery mechanism are vulnerable to being attacked by our immune system – but experimenting with how they are given could get around this.
A medical professor explains the reasoning behind the delay in the UK and what impact this might have on the vaccine's effectiveness.
Some people continue to shed viral RNA for weeks or months after developing COVID-19. Could persistent pockets of infection be to blame?
New review of evidence on a single-dose HPV vaccination schedule is published by PATH-led consortium.
African leaders can make strategies to fight COVID-19 more accessible to the people.
Health workers take COVID-19 precautions to deliver polio drops.
In the United States and some other countries, members of disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities have a lower-than-average life expectancy, and therefore are under-represented among those most likely to die from COVID-19. How should…
Young volunteers gain new skills and give back to their communities.
New variants will push the number needed to reach herd immunity up.
Western Equatoria Ministry of Health and UNICEF are preparing for COVID-19 vaccination campaigns.
How two effective vaccines on the market make it so much harder to quickly test any competing vaccines.
In Cameroon’s Marua region, the pandemic means farmers are now faced with the double challenge of using what limited water resources they have to grow crops while saving lives through handwashing.
What normally takes decades has been achieved in 12 months, without cutting corners.
Covid-19 has changed the world of vaccines, but that doesn't mean all diseases will get treatments as quickly.
As at January 12, 2021, Nigeria has had over a hundred thousand confirmed cases of the novel 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. The pandemic has continued to challenge healthcare system...
As long as humans encroach on nature, pandemics are inevitable — making it important to concentrate resources in areas where people and wildlife are linked.
On 8 January, Derrick C became one of the first people in the UK to receive his second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, three weeks after the first dose. Here we ask him what that was like.
As a Gavi-funded emergency stockpile of Ebola vaccines becomes accessible, we look at the ultra-cold chain equipment used to keep these vaccines at the right temperature.
Answering this question will take us one step closer to our new normal.
How resistance to drugs originates, and why it's different for vaccines.
Long-term protection will depend on the 'memory response' developed by our immune systems – and the initial signs are promising.
While some of the world's richest and most technologically advanced countries have struggled to contain the spread and morbidity of COVID-19, Rwanda has set a shining example of how to manage a pandemic and safeguard public health. Chief among…
From Liability Laws to Production Delays, the 2009 H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine Rollout Offers a Cautionary Tale for Today.
Sterilising immunity means that the immune system is able to completely prevent a virus from replicating in your body. Not all vaccines provide this.
Vaccinators tackle winter conditions and challenging contexts during Afghanistan’s last polio campaign of the year.
In March 2020, as soon as the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Kyrgyzstan, a state of emergency was declared, and the country went into lockdown.
For all of the good news about the arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the hard truth for the coming year is that global demand will outpace supply. Without a multilateral agreement to allocate doses globally, the road to recovery…
Uncertainty in the availability of vaccine doses is prompting some countries to consider altering dosing schedules, or mixing different vaccine types. How could this impact the effectiveness of vaccines?
We believe the best way to address misconceptions is to arm yourself with the facts and have a few key points and statistics. Here’s our list of facts to combat common misinformation.
Here's what we still need to find out before we can know when we'll be able to return to our pre-coronavirus ways.
In less than a year, the world has come together to develop effective COVID-19 vaccines and a multilateral platform for allocating them most efficiently around the world. But with the risk of vaccine nationalism still looming large, now is the…
Long-lasting symptoms appear unrelated to how bad your infection was, though women appear more affected than men.
Managers owe it to their employees to stop treating work from home like a luxury. The office wasn’t invited into the home. It turned up like an unexpected guest – and it shows few signs of leaving soon.
Despite huge advancements in the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in recent decades, an effective vaccine remains elusive – and is desperately needed to end the global pandemic that kills more than 700,000 people each year.
Antibodies that go rogue and attack healthy tissue identified in patients with severe COVID.
In August 2020, Nigeria became the last African country to be declared free from wild poliovirus.
Well-designed communication can increase healthy behaviours, including vaccine uptake. Here are our top five mantras for how to think about COVID-19 vaccine communication.
Kenya marked its 1st anniversary of the launch of the pilot in September, with more than 128,000 children reached with vaccine, and one country health official expressing “a great sense of pride” in being part of the effort to protect children…
To combat vaccine misinformation at home and around the globe, we must build trust.
As we prepare for one of the world’s largest vaccination efforts, and on the occasion of International Migrants Day, we are coming to a critical reckoning: the need for inclusive approaches in our health-related thinking and practices has never…
Vaccines have been approved – so why are we still developing others?
The best way we can prevent flu infection is by getting vaccinated. The problem with the flu vaccine is that in some years it doesn’t work as well as others.
A second typhoid conjugate vaccine has achieved WHO prequalification and others are in development. More vaccines will help increase access to TCVs.
12 charts provide an overview of our research in the face of a truly unprecedented crisis.
Some of the COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA to provoke an immune response. But what exactly is this genetic material, and how does it interact with the DNA in our cells?
As the new COVID-19 vaccines begin to ship out, how ready are health systems to manage delivery? Here are four ways countries should frame that question.
New girl-centered toolkit helps health officials develop and implement communications campaigns that resonate with girls in their countries.
Community mobilizers inform and prepare communities for vaccinators.
Some people respond strongly to perceived threats to their freedom and push back – others are simply more accepting of risk.
Preparing African countries for COVID-19 vaccines will require thoughtful planning and unprecedented coordination across a wide-range of stakeholders.
We need more data on the low-dose, high-dose regimen used in one arm of the trial, which may make the vaccine more effective.
Restaurants, gyms and religious establishments appear to account for most coronavirus infections in US cities, but new analysis suggests there are strategies which can reduce the risks.
Like patients with long COVID, some Ebola survivors have lingering symptoms which can make it difficult to work or function in everyday life. Dr Janet Scott has been studying these survivors, and now also has her sights on COVID-19. She tells us…
What if I’ve already had COVID – do I still need a vaccine?
Some countries may stop their vaccination programs for a while to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. But which is better: fewer coronavirus infections or making sure children get all their usual vaccinations?
Without a greater focus on the gender dynamics of the COVID-19 crisis, women and girls will suffer long-term handicaps that constrain their economic prospects for years to come, if not permanently. We already know enough about the pandemic's…
At this crucial moment for immunisation, considering community perceptions of vaccination has never been more important.
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic will stop them.
Janet, mother of twins, tells fellow mothers.
As companies race to develop COVID-19 vaccines, some development processes have been run in parallel to stop the pandemic as quickly as possible. Yet safety remains paramount; now that we are on the brink of rolling out some of the vaccines that…
Fluvoxamine has shown positive results in early trials.
The COVID-19 pandemic now threatens global progress on preventing and treating childhood pneumonia, potentially reversing decades of health gains for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Having a range of Covid-19 vaccines available for people to use around the world will be essential to bringing the pandemic under control. Here’s why.
Despite the benefit of all the recommended public health measures in preventing transmission, vaccines still provide us with the best chance of our lives returning to some semblance of normality.
Research suggests that the quickest way to end the pandemic and limit the economic damage is for all countries to benefit from a coordinated global vaccine deal.
This week Gavi signed a historic agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to improve immunisation coverage for migrants and forcibly displaced persons around the world. IOM’s South Sudan Communications Officer, Liatile…
The global pandemic is far from over, but this latest in a series of welcome announcements brings renewed hope even if several hurdles remain.
Promises of COVID-19 vaccine doses for developing countries will face challenges along the crucial cold chain.
The Oxford vaccine – developed in partnership with AstraZeneca – stops 70% of people developing COVID symptoms, and, depending on how the doses are given, may even protect up to 90% of people.
Local adaptation and innovation has allowed the resumption of polio immunization campaigns – and points the way to more effective, community-based delivery of a whole range of basic health services.
New research suggesting that antibodies reduce faster in men compared with women could have implications for vaccine development.
Although antimicrobial resistance has been a known and growing problem for decades, only one new class of antibiotics has been discovered since 1984. Tackling AMR requires a fundamental change in how new antibiotics are valued, and government…
Until now, we didn’t know how long immunity after infection with COVID-19 would last – new research suggests it could be long-lasting.
Early results from COVID-19 vaccine trials are starting to emerge, and scientists have received the first reports from three independent studies with optimism because protection against the coronavirus is possible.
As COVID-19 continues to surge over the globe, it forces us to reckon with the fact that true global health equity – universal access to primary healthcare – is an unfinished task that we pay for at our collective expense. Water, sanitation, and…
It is very exciting to hear another positive story about vaccine trial results – a good vaccine is the most likely way of ending the pandemic.
Vienna, Austria – In this final story in the World Health Organization series exploring the human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eugene, a care-home nurse in Austria, shares the story of how he survived coronavirus.
As COVID-19 has overwhelmed the medical system, a group of volunteers in Nigeria is undertaking the task of slowing the disease’s spread within communities.
The main way the virus is thought to spread is through respiratory droplets and fomites (contaminated objects or materials such as clothes, furniture and door handles). With this mode of spread, most infections take place through close contact,…
COVID-19 has presented many new social and economic challenges, and is exacerbating already existing ones. One such challenge is global poverty. Right now over 700 million people live in extreme poverty worldwide, which is defined as living on…
In this third story in the World Health Organization series exploring the human cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gracia, a junior high school student in West Papua, learns life skills for the future.
Pfizer’s update certainly is fantastic news. A COVID-19 vaccine could well be approved and ready for use in the next few months. But whether that means we can all get back to normal life by early 2021 is less certain.
The yearly influenza season threatens to make the COVID-19 pandemic doubly deadly, but I believe that this isn’t inevitable.
While developing an effective vaccine probably won’t bring an immediate end to the pandemic, it’s clear that things can’t begin to return to normal without one. Anything that reduces a future vaccine’s effectiveness will be a problem. This…
The world is anxiously awaiting the development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 60 years ago, the world was also waiting in eager anticipation of a publicly available vaccine to stop a disease that was ravaging communities around…
Josh Morrison, Co-founder and Executive Director of 1Day Sooner, an organisation that advocates on behalf of challenge trial volunteers, explains why.
Mathematical modelling suggests that if wealthy countries stockpile COVID-19 vaccines, we will see nearly twice as many deaths than if vaccines were shared equally across the globe.
It is clear that COVID-19 will persist much longer than anticipated. If countries do not take action soon to ensure the continuity of essential health services during the pandemic, the future death toll from communicable and noncommunicable…
For some vaccinators in the vast archipelagic nation of Indonesia, a day in their professional life may involve trekking through deep tropical valleys and jungles or crossing the open waters on rickety boats to isolated islands.
Now, COVID-19 is unleashing substantial health, social and economic impacts in every corner of the globe. But it is the poorest countries and the most vulnerable communities around the world that stand to suffer the most from this protracted…
We are all being exposed to a huge amount of COVID-19 information on a daily basis, and not all of it is reliable. Here are some tips for telling the difference and stopping the spread of misinformation.
In the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Ghana is working to protect 4.5 million at-risk children from polio through the launch of two polio vaccination campaigns. Here’s a closer look at those efforts for World Polio Day.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on social, economic, and environmental risks that have been building for the past half-century of neoliberalism. Even amid the deep uncertainties of today's global situation, one thing is clear: it is…
President of Niger H.E. Issoufou Mahamadou talks about the importance of routine immunisation and Gavi support in Niger, and the need for ensuring universal access to COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
Timor-Leste’s Director-General of Health Services for the Ministry of Health discusses the unique challenges of tackling COVID-19 in Timor-Leste and how have they been addressed.
Most vaccine candidates in early development fail: this is the stark reality of vaccine development.
Over 50% more children were immunised in Gavi countries in 2019 than in 2000, yet 10.6 million children continue to miss out entirely on basic vaccinations. Here’s why reaching these children and setting them on the pathway to full immunisation…
We need a range of treatments to make Covid-19 preventable and treatable. Jeremy Farrar describes recent progress made by research and why more investment is needed.
Herd immunity threshold may have been reached in Amazonas capital, Manaus, but experts warn that herd immunity is not the end of the pandemic.
Globally 3 billion people lack hand hygiene facilities at home and two out of five health care facilities lack hand hygiene at points of care. As the pandemic unfolded around the world, hand sanitizer and handwashing stations became as in-demand…
In 2019, countries delivered more than 230 million routine vaccinations, a record number, supported by unprecedented levels of health system funding from Gavi to support immunisation and protect the most vulnerable children. Here is what Gavi did…
On International Day of the Girl Child, Gavi’s Megan Holloway looks at how COVID-19 is impacting the lives of girls.
As the most ambitious pandemic-response initiative ever conceived, the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility is the best chance the world has to bring the pandemic to an end. But to succeed, COVAX requires broad international buy-in, based on…
European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) humanitarian air bridge made it possible.
Preventing and controlling infectious disease is possible with dedication of health workers, multi-stakeholder collaboration and equitable access to vaccines. Africa’s wild polio-free certification, which took decades of collaborative effort, is…
Polio, a contagious disease caused by the poliomyelitis virus is transmitted primarily when stool from someone infected contaminates foods, drinks or water sources. It invades the nervous system and could, in a matter of hours, lead to complete…
Vaccines are designed to trigger an immune response to pathogens we’ve never encountered before. But how does it feel to be one of the first humans to encounter a new vaccine? British communications consultant Heather Macdonald-Tait explains what…
In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy. Now a new study looks at how this economic shock is impacting sovereign debt levels of Gavi-supported countries.
Africa has not been as hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as predicted. Here, we talk to Professor Salim Abdool Karim, the head of South Africa's Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 to find out why and what the future might hold.
In the first of this series, we look at the highlights of an evaluation to determine the potential barriers to immunisation caused by the increase in urbanisation.
Vaccines save lives by protecting children and adults from diseases. COVID-19 pandemic is a clear example of what a world without vaccines could look like. Governments should ensure that delivery of essential services such as vaccines remains a…
Throughout the 2016–2020 strategic period, the Vaccine Alliance has worked with countries to improve data quality. From GIS to SMS, new tech and tools aim to reach more people with life-saving immunisation.
To bring countries on a trajectory towards financial sustainability, and to empower them to take ownership
of their vaccination programmes, Gavi has pioneered an approach to co-financing and transition.
Her own healthy baby son is how Ugandan nurse Maureen Wandawa demonstrates the benefits of immunization. Working together to build confidence in, and access to, vaccines for all who need them is one way we can #UniteforHealth to keep us all safer…
Gavi's partnership with telecoms provider Orange and the Ministry of Health overcomes barriers to childhood immunisation through tailored, tested technology.
The true number could be much higher, and two million could die before we get a vaccine, says the World Health Organization.
Gender equality must be at the heart of not only our response, but our attempts to restructure systems to be fairer and more equal to recover better.
The prospect of having the first supplies of at least a few effective COVID-19 medicines and vaccines by the end of 2020 is a key driver of recent market optimism.
The benefits of immunisation extend beyond preventing childhood deaths. Vaccines are also a vital tool in the fights against cancer, outbreaks and antimicrobial resistance.
When I join Gavi in January, it will be at a time when it is contemplating the most ambitious period in its history.
We are close to a polio-free world, yet cases of vaccine-derived disease are challenging the eradication effort.
Tips for teachers to protect themselves and their students.
The goal of our market shaping work is to help ensure vaccine markets work better for lower-income countries. We want the maximum number of people to receive the life-saving and health-protecting benefits of immunisation.
After transitioning out of Gavi support in 2017, the Republic of Moldova is mobilising champions and advocates to strengthen vaccine confidence – which is crucial to the success and sustainability of immunisation programmes.
Biggest funders of emerging infectious diseases R&D are also biggest recipients. Ebola and Zika experienced R&D spike in wake of epidemics. US is losing global leadership role in the field.
Vaccine manufacturers have worked hard to adapt to a new normal of keeping supplies for immunisation programmes going in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typhoid fever is increasingly resistant to the main antibiotics used to treat it. Gavi is supporting a new vaccine to help control this deadly disease – and fight antimicrobial resistance.
September 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This year, the focus of the high-level General Debate is the importance of effective multilateralism.
Gavi’s Derrick Sim, Director of Vaccine Supply and Demand, discusses why it is sometimes important to halt clinical trials.
Snapshots from DRC, India and Zambia illustrate country ownership and progress in the fights against Ebola, polio and HPV.
Being in a constant state of high alert and uncertainty is exhausting yet health officials warn that we can’t let our guard down yet and resisting living with the ‘new normal’ could threaten our health.
Some researchers conducting clinical trials on a COVID-19 vaccine have not revealed to the public what the placebo contains, but they should.
Supporting health systems is essential for Gavi’s work to improve immunisation coverage and equity.
We need to understand the impact of Covid-19 on wider health issues to shape better public health responses and limit long-term consequences. Drug resistance is one of these, Gemma Buckland-Merrett explains.
When disaster strikes a country, the impact on people’s health can be immense and long-lasting. As the effects of climate change are felt around the world through rising temperatures and sea levels, natural disasters are increasingly frequent and…
When I was 12, I received the HPV vaccine just like most girls my age in Rwanda. The day after we got the first dose, my classmates started spreading rumours about the vaccine that they had heard from their families and communities.
Vaccines are the best tools yet invented to prevent child deaths and protect people’s health. Gavi funding for access to vaccines has protected a generation of children growing up in lower-income countries. Gavi funds twin approaches to…
While scientific and vaccine manufacturing community make huge strides in the race towards that goal, it is important to remember that vaccines are only one of three Vs needed to beat this coronavirus.
How one social mobiliser in South Sudan has managed to contribute to health security in her region.
2020 was already going to be a monumental year — the beginning of the 10-year countdown for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Anecdotes of how people feel about vaccines are plenty, but there have been few attempts to gather robust global data. This five-year study reviewed survey responses from over a quarter of a million people around the world on how they felt about…
Gavi’s CEO provides an overview of its flagship publication, launched today.
In Malawi, primary school drop-out rates are among the highest in Africa. To try and guarantee high coverage, the HPV vaccine is administered to 9-years-old girls.
If a COVID-19 vaccine is to reach the global public sometime next year, it will be the result of one of the fastest developments and rollouts of a vaccine against a new disease ever. In contrast, the RTS,S malaria vaccine, which is currently…
Ethiopia has overtaken Nigeria to become the Gavi-eligible African country most affected by COVID-19. Over the past week, the number of confirmed cases in Ethiopia has grown exponentially. Despite the pandemic, immunisation activities – both…
As CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance funded largely by Bill Gates, Dr Seth Berkley has helped vaccinate almost half the world’s children from fatal and debilitating diseases. His current baby is the COVAX Facility to help develop, manufacture and…
You may have heard the saying, “no products, no programs,” but for those who work in public health during COVID-19, the saying has become “no PPE, no programs.” And for community health workers (CHWs) who play a vital role in providing health…
Helping rural and urban girls across Ethiopia understand cervical cancer and HPV.
Researchers across the world are working flat out to develop and manufacture a vaccine for COVID-19 that can end what has been the worst pandemic in at least a century.
Dr Melanie Saville, CEPI’s Director of Vaccine Development, discusses what a successful vaccine against COVID-19 would involve, some of the unknowns and the challenges that vaccine developers are wrestling with, and what makes CEPI’s approach…
Before the pandemic began, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was already facing a severe measles outbreak which started at the end of 2018. Despite huge challenges caused by COVID-19 and other diseases, the largest measles outbreak in…
How the African Region is Celebrating the End of Wild Polio while cVDPV Outbreaks Continue
By foot, boat and bicycle, thousands of volunteer vaccinators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) go to extraordinary efforts, sometimes at personal risk, to help eradicate polio.
An estimated $15.9 trillion has been mobilised to respond to the health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this has gone to multilateral and bilateral funders to support low- and middle-income countries’ (LMIC) governments.
When Aisha took her son Busami Modu to his grandmother’s house in Kuya, a village in Borno state, Nigeria, she waved goodbye to a healthy, happy little boy. A “beauty to behold,” she recalls. The next time she saw him, he was paralysed and unable…
Data from global Ipsos survey shows 37% of those polled worldwide think it is likely a vaccine will be available by the end of the year. But is this optimism misplaced?
As one of the African countries most affected by COVID-19, Nigeria has faced significant economic and health impacts, including to routine immunisation, in the face of the pandemic.
Diarrheal disease is the second leading infectious killer of children under five worldwide. Lessons learned from tackling this deadly disease could also help us recover from COVID-19 stronger than ever.
As more people have moved to cities, population density, human encroachment and increased global interconnectivity have contributed to the spread of infectious diseases.
COVID-19 has triggered lockdown measures for billions of people around the world. As many of us struggle to adapt to the ‘new normal’, we look at the origins of quarantine measures - and how they’ve been used to contain deadly outbreaks for…
The misinformation surrounding COVID-19 in the Democratic Repubic of the Congo isn’t new – public health officials have seen rumours and myths circulate with Ebola. Here’s how they are tackling them.
Analysis suggests that investments in vaccination programmes will result in US$ 0.8 trillion in returns over the next ten years.
If you test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, does that actually mean you’ve been infected?
In the recent past, 25-year-old Zahra Mohamud* had visited the Hawadle maternal and child health centre in Hargeisa regularly to have her older son Ibrahim* vaccinated against the most common childhood diseases.
When COVID-19 vaccines become available, one of the biggest challenges the global community will face is equitable distribution. This will be the single largest vaccine deployment in history.