COVID-19: Let’s make vaccine delivery fast and fair

By: 
CARE
Aminata Kalokoh removes medicines from a freezer at a CARE-supported health centre in Sierra Leone (photo taken in 2019)

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CARE aims to play a key role in the fast and fair delivery of COVID vaccines to the world’s most marginalised people.

CARE is drawing up plans to help ensure that more than 100 million of the most marginalised and vulnerable people – including women and girls, refugees and displaced people, those living in extreme poverty, and nearly 275,000 frontline healthcare workers – have access to COVID vaccines over the coming year.

As COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use worldwide, ensuring they quickly reach the most marginalised and hard-to-reach communities will be key to bringing the pandemic under control – and ensuring that the world’s poorest people are not left behind.

In the next year, we could see a further widening of already enormous gaps in global wealth – and health – unless vaccines reach those most in need.

CARE plans to use our global resources and know-how to ensure the global vaccination process is fast and fair. We are preparing to lend our expertise and support to national, regional, and local government agencies conducting COVID-19 vaccinations – with the aim of supporting the vaccination of more than 100 million people in 10 countries (Bangladesh, India, Uganda, Haiti, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Nigeria, Benin, DR Congo).

CARE’s global vaccine response plan will focus on three key areas:

Justina Koroma, an ambulance worker in Sierra Leone
Justina Koroma, an ambulance worker in Sierra Leone trained in maternal and child health

Healthcare workers

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CARE has stood by workers on the frontlines of the crisis – especially women, who make up 70% of frontline health workers – from community health volunteers to midwives.

In partnership with country health systems, we aim to ensure that 275,000 health care providers and frontline health workers are protected with a COVID-19 vaccine.

Farida Dagnogo wearing facemask, Ivory Coast
Farida Dagnogo, a food seller in the Ivory Coast who struggled to continue her business during the COVID-19 pandemic

Women and refugees

Women take responsibility for the majority of caregiving tasks, both in formal healthcare settings and in the home, placing them at higher risk of exposure to the virus. Additionally, refugees and migrants have limited access to healthcare services and may not qualify for programmes intended for citizens of host countries.

CARE will work to ensure these groups are not sent to the back of the vaccine lines. We will collaborate with country health systems, supporting micro-planning, mapping, digital tracking and rapid training to ensure fast and fair vaccine delivery and allocation, prioritising caregivers and other at-risk groups including  refugees, internally displaced people, and people living in crowded housing conditions.

COVID-19 mural on a wall in Haiti
A public information mural on a wall in Haiti

Community education

CARE is a trusted partner in the communities we serve, and we’ll provide key education resources to help combat stigma within those communities so people can feel safe and confident taking the vaccine.

We will also advocate to influence global policy regarding vaccine availability and distribution.

CARE was built for this moment.

We cannot let 2021 be the year of the grand reversal – unravelling 40 years of progress in tackling poverty, inequality, and injustice. That’s why we are going to work together with partners and communities, to make sure we all find a way out of this pandemic.

We will be drawing on more than 20 years of leadership in system strengthening, immunisation and vaccination programming – including more than 12 years of supporting polio vaccinations at country level, and direct service provision for immunisations in humanitarian contexts such as Haiti and Syria.

We have the experience, knowledge, and networks to play a key role to facilitate vaccine delivery – from international policy and advocacy; through support for national level coordination, for local health centres, and for frontline health workers; to community engagement, focusing in particular on women and girls.

Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA, says:

Since the start of the pandemic CARE has built a COVID-19 response infrastructure addressing prevention needs and the economic devastation caused by the crisis. As we move to put an end to this pandemic, CARE will use our global resources and expertise to ensure that the vaccine is distributed quickly and fairly to those facing extreme poverty, and harsh living conditions. COVID has proven that our world is intricately connected. None of us are safe from this pandemic, until all of us are safe.

With your help, we will continue living up to our mission to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.