To many, it feels like we are characters in a movie as our lives and those of people around the world face total upheaval by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lack of an available vaccine. Now more than ever, we are reminded that #VaccinesWork to protect and improve the health of everyone on the planet.
Immunization programmes, such as those supported by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance play a critical role in strengthening health systems to ensure they can withstand shocks. They are vital to ensuring that even as systems are stretched by the fight to curb the pandemic, we don’t lose ground in important long-term battles against diseases like measles or polio.
As the world races to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, Gavi will be especially critical to rolling it out and, in the interim, has already committed to supporting low and middle income countries that will require additional support in containing COVID-19.
The poorest and most vulnerable are often the hardest hit in times of crisis. We need to send a message now to Canadian decision makers about their pledge to GPEI and Gavi: investing in vaccines cannot wait.
Ask #1: Canada to pledge $215 million over 4 years to GPEI.
Ask #2: Canada to pledge $600 million over 5 years to Gavi.
Polio mainly affects children under 5 years of age. As long as a single child remains infected, children in all countries are at risk. It is a disease that can frequently lead to permanent paralysis and sometimes death. Thanks to GPEI, the number of polio cases around the world has dropped from approximately 350,000 a year in 1988 to 33 in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2018. If we act boldly now, we can eradicate polio from the globe in the next few yea
As a critically important vaccine provider to the world’s poorest countries, Gavi has vaccinated 690 million children since 2000. It is estimated that up to 3 million lives are saved every year because of these increases in childhood immunizations. Over the next 5 years, let’s ensure that Gavi can continue to provide 18 different kinds of vaccines (such as the HPV Vaccine, the world’s first cancer preventing vaccine) to over 300 million children.
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