As more people are protected from COVID-19, vaccines will bring us closer again physically as travel restrictions, masking and distancing requirements are lifted, but vaccines bring us closer in many other ways and have for decades:
- Vaccines allow us to freely gather safely, whether for work, leisure, learning, duty, or worship.
- Vaccines build bridges across generations, protecting the very young and old by preventing disease transmission within households and among caregivers.
- Vaccines bring us closer to our own potential, enabling the immunized to thrive across the lifespan, with body and mind safeguarded from dangerous and debilitating vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs).
A year ago, there were 26 dangerous diseases for which we had safe and effective vaccines to prevent and control. Today, we add COVID-19 to the list of VPDs as four vaccines are currently being deployed under emergency use to save lives and livelihoods from the grip of the pandemic.
Too many children miss out on the life-saving power of vaccines.
Given a healthy start in life, free from the fear of contracting a vaccine-preventable disease, we expect to see our children reach their 5th birthdays, study, explore, grow, celebrate and love. We hope to see our loved ones venture out into communities, the workplace and the wider world with confidence to contribute, provide and thrive throughout the lifespan, but…
- What does life look like for the more than 13.8 million children every year globally who do not receive a single dose of vaccine?
- What is the outlook for millions of children who are missing vaccinations due to paused or postponed immunization activities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As of April 2021, almost 70 preventive immunization campaigns in over 60 countries remain postponed due to COVID-19, and routine immunization coverage is down globally, including in the United States. As a global immunization community, we must not lose track of these missed children, and we must close the gaps that hinder the equitable delivery and access to all vaccines in childhood and throughout the lifespan.