World Immunization Week, celebrated in the last week of April, aims to highlight the collective action needed and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against major killer diseases. We support the theme for 2022, “Long Life For All”, a call shared with our Humana People to People’s commitment to building healthy communities.
World Immunization Week seek to ensure more people and their communities are protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. Raising global awareness of the value of vaccines and immunization helps governments to run effectively immunization programmes and take necessary steps critical to save lives and reduce high mortality rates.
“A Long Life for All” is not a promise, it's an ambition, as everyone deserves a chance at a fulfilling-life. Vaccines have been saving lives since 1796. The first smallpox immunization was a fight back against diseases, for the first time, it gave everyone a chance at life. Many other vaccines later have made it possible to give billions of people longer lives.
Our best chance of ending the COVID-19 pandemic is through ensuring that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, free of charge. This will only be possible with a transformation in how vaccines are produced and distributed. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines are owned by big pharmaceutical corporations which are refusing to share the science and tech that could speed up affordable mass production and distribution for the entire planet. This is despite that science being paid for by taxpayers around the world.
Two years ago, the barrier to beating Covid-19 was science. Today it is inequality. Rich countries are hoarding vaccines and protecting the profits of their pharmaceutical corporations instead of saving lives. To end this pandemic, we need a vaccine that is free, fair, and available to all. We need a People’s Vaccine.
We have joined the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of over 80 organisations, supported by Nobel Laureates, scientists, Heads of States and activists, working for a People’s Vaccine, available free of charge to everyone, everywhere. We opted to side with progressive voices in demanding an end in COVID-19 vaccine inequality that expose the poor to loss of life due to poverty.
We have already lost too many lives because of rich country inaction – but if we move fast and put the interests of global supply of vaccines over the profits of pharmaceutical corporations, we can save hundreds of thousands more.
What is worrying again is the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) indications that nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. The recently announced scientific breakthrough in malaria vaccine was supposed to have been followed by availing of funds for large-scale manufacturing of vaccines, distribution targeting high malaria prevalent countries and rolling out of the malaria vaccination programmes. However, the biggest challenge is the extreme slow pace in having approaching malaria vaccination following the new opportunity with a sense of urgency. Children continue contracting malaria with some dying despite the existence of the solution.
Vaccines provide opportunity and hope for all of us to enjoy a more fulfilling life. And that's something we should all be fighting for. Vaccines, in the pursuit of a long life well lived.