Every year millions of lives are saved thanks to immunisation. It is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions.
But, nearly 20 million children world wide still go unvaccinated or under-vaccinated while in the developed world there is a growing anti-vaccine movement.
During immunisation campaigns in some countries it is not unusual for people to walk miles to get themselves or their children vaccinated.
It can be an emergency response to curb the spread of disease such as the Democratic Republic of Congo which has a measles outbreak right now. If one is developed for Covid-19 people who are immunised will no longer run the risk of contracting and spreading that disease.
There are still people dying from measles, polio, cholera on a daily basis due to a failure to vaccinate. Diptheria – thought to have been eradicated – has re-appeared in Yemen as there is no working health service to provide the vaccines (even if a drug was available). The collapse of public health systems due to armed conflict is a major reason for outbreaks occurring.
Vaccines can save lives but to do so they need to be made available at fair prices. AS the world waits on one for Covid-19 we need to ensure this vaccine is not just a luxury for a few but available to everyone regardless of cost.