U.S. leadership and funding for global immunization efforts have accelerated over the past 15 years. The returns have been substantial. U.S. efforts—primarily through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance—have contributed to the immunization of 500 million children and the prevention of approximately 7 million deaths from measles, diphtheria, pertussis, rotavirus, and other diseases. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides technical support and funding to strengthen immunization delivery systems, and additionally, a U.S. network of partners has played a pivotal role in the research and development of two-thirds of all new vaccines globally.
Yet 1.5 million children under five years of age still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, which account for approximately 20 percent of child mortality. Enormous gaps in coverage remain within and among countries in the developing world. Moreover, Gavi’s long-term ability to transition countries from aid recipients to full funders of their domestic immunization efforts is uncertain. This uncertainty puts at risk the global capacity to maintain effective immunization programs and introduce new vaccines, the very reason Gavi was established.
For the next administration, global leadership on immunizations is just as important as funding.
Stakeholders identified three priority areas where the United States should intensify efforts to keep life-saving immunizations front and center globally:
- Leveraging the U.S. government’s influential role on the Gavi Board to sustain and improve global vaccine coverage and support successful country transitions to full ownership of domestic immunization programs
- Stimulating private-sector investment and supporting product development partnerships to accelerate the research and development of new vaccines for the developing world.
- Reducing inequities in coverage through efforts to reach the most vulnerable populations”
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