BP2C Executive Director Dr. Scott Ratzan gave a presentation during World Vision‘s “COVID-19 Vaccination: The Demand Side” Event, held on the margins of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly high-level week on September 20. The meeting recording, Dr. Ratzan’s academic peer-paper, and other informational materials can be viewed below.
Globally there are as many as 1.2 billion excess doses purchased by wealthy countries that could be shared with low and middle income countries in a responsible and timely way through COVAX or other efficient established mechanisms. However, initial findings from a World Bank assessment of national deployment and vaccination plans show that the world’s poorest countries are at varying degrees of readiness for the massive undertaking. While 85% of countries have developed national vaccination plans and 68% have vaccine safety systems, only 30% have developed processes to train the large number of vaccinators who will be needed for the campaign and only 27% have created social mobilisation and public engagement strategies to encourage people to get vaccinated.
What has become also increasingly evident in the COVID-19 pandemic is the disconnect between governments and local communities. Most of the National Vaccine Deployment Plans have been prepared without the engagement of Civil Society or key local actors – actions that undermine a co-creation process alongside the citizens to increase the vaccine uptake. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents in a May 2021 survey by World Vision had not even heard of plans for vaccinations in their communities. Nearly half (47%) thought they were not eligible or did not know if they were eligible for a vaccination. When trust in governments is low, it is extremely difficult to sustain required behavioural practices and confidence in the vaccines. A lesson learnt from World Vision’s Ebola Response was that trust is better built by frontline partners that can relate to and work with these communities on a daily basis.
It is timely that the UNGA debates on strategies to increase the vaccination deployment readiness and the cooperation between civil society, local partners and national governments to ensure the vaccine uptake. The purpose of this event is to draw global attention, share experiences and galvanise action to accelerate vaccine uptake in low and middle income countries.
This virtual event brought together stakeholders from UN Member States, Agencies, Civil Society, including national level experts and other stakeholders.
A panel of experts included:
- Diane Summers, Senior Advisor, Communication for Development, UNICEF
- Sheetal Sharma Ph.D., Chair GAVI Steering Committee
- Lisa Menning, Team Lead on Policy & Communications, World Health Organisation
- Dr. Scott Ratzan, Distinguished Lecturer, City University of New York
- Dan Irvine, Senior Director Global Health and Nutrition, World Vision International
- Moderated by: Jennifer Neelsen, Global COVID-19 Response Director, World Vision International
Access Passcode: i#.F8WHJ
“Missing the Point — How Primary Care Can Overcome Covid-19 Vaccine ‘Hesitancy’” by Dr. Scott Ratzan et all
“COVID-19 Vaccination: The Demand Side” World Vision assessment of national vaccine deployment plans