Vaccines are nothing short of miraculous. With a tiny amount of information, vaccines trigger our immune systems to develop defenses that neutralize deadly diseases – enabling us to prevent and even eradicate some of the worst illnesses in human history and protect the health and well-being of generations to come.

But vaccines don’t deliver themselves, so it is important that we pause, every year during World Immunization Week, to recognize the importance of the programs – and people – around the world that deliver these lifesaving tools.

While this is an opportunity to celebrate remarkable progress, this year we’re marking a different, but equally major milestone – though I’m sad to say it’s not a positive one: challenged by the pandemic and the many ways it interfered with routine immunization, countries around the world are experiencing the biggest sustained backslide in vaccine coverage in 30 years. To respond to this challenge, the World Health Organization and other immunization partners have launched The Big Catch-up, a campaign to rebuild hard-won progress on vaccination.

In no small way, my career has been driven by what I have witnessed, the transformative power of vaccines. But as the response to Covid-19 and the disruption of routine immunizations made clear, vaccines only save lives when they become vaccinations, and there are many obstacles that can hinder that process.

Read the full article about global immunization strategies by Bruce Gellin at The Rockefeller Foundation.