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The Importance of Immunisation when Preparing and Responding to Health Crises

ISGlobal hosted a side event on health crisis preparedness and response at the high-level conference of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

vaccines, preparaness

Madrid hosted the Global Vaccine Impact Conference this week, a high-level meeting where Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, presented data to its donors from its new report, Raising Generation ImmUnity, a mid-term review of its current strategic cycle (2021-2025). The three-day event, co-hosted by the Government of Spain, showcased Gavi's progress in achieving its global immunisation targets since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and presented a range of new statistics that point to a global recovery in routine immunisation by 2022.

Spain's commitment to immunisation

Spain, which became a Gavi donor in 2006 as one of the six original partners of the IFFIm (International Finance Facility for Immunisation) , hosted this international conference for the first time in its first edition after the global pandemic . Our country is currently a major donor to this innovative financing mechanism, with a total commitment of 290 million euros, underlining its willingness to provide a meaningful contribution to a public good such as global health, through multilateral action and strengthening of impact-driven partnerships.

The challenges of preparing for and responding to health crises

On the first day of the conference, ISGlobal organised the side event "The Role of Immunisation in Building an Effective and Equitable Preparedness Model" to reflect on the challenges of preparedness and response to systemic health threats and the role of immunisation in strengthening these capacities.

Moderated by ISGlobal, the session was attended by Eva del Hoyo, Director General for Sustainable Development Policies at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martin Seychell, Deputy Director General for International Partnerships at the European Commission, Esther Nasikye, member of the GAVI Civil Society Organisations Committee, and Ephrem Lemango, Deputy Director for Health and Head of Immunisation at UNICEF.

After recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic had struck an unprepared world and that no country or organisation in the world was fully prepared for the impact of such a major health crisis, the discussion highlighted the importance of immunisation as one of the most powerful public health interventions, as well as the need to strengthen international cooperation in the health sector.

It also highlighted some key elements that need to be addressed to strengthen countries' preparedness and response systems, including

  1. Strengthening health systems, the cornerstone of any preparedness and response system.
  2. Improving and modernising the delivery of vaccines to and within countries.
  3. Engaging civil society, local and community-based organisations to address the challenge of reaching the entire population (including vaccine-averse people).

Finally, the panellists stressed that despite the various crises of recent years and the fact that pandemics are often forgotten in the aftermath, major donors are taking important steps towards improving emergency preparedness.