Sabin Commits to Ensuring Equitable Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccines

The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is partnering with Dalberg and John Snow, Inc. Research & Training Institute to launch the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project - an initiative that will support low- and middle-income country immunization professionals in leading the equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through their national immunization programs.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project takes a country-first approach, collaborating directly with country governments and immunization professionals to assess their readiness and preparedness and co-create country-specific action plans that both contextualize global guidance and reflect the realities of local service delivery. Once action plans are in place, the focus will shift to bolstering country-level capacity and expertise.

The Boost Community will serve as the foundation of this program to ensure the perspectives and priorities of immunization professionals at both the national and sub-national levels are fully integrated into the design and delivery of activities. Now more than ever, immunization professionals must be equipped with a mindset oriented toward problem-solving, steeped in professionalism and grounded in resilience. 

Your feedback and input is essential to the success of this program. Over the next few months, you can expect frequent opportunities to share your thoughts including challenges that you face and areas where more support may be needed. We will also use Boost to share program updates and collectively problem solve if we encounter obstacles along the way. A Boost Working Group composed of national and sub-national experts will participate in action planning, ensuring that plans address the lived concerns of these stakeholders and benefit from their deep understanding of their contexts to speed approval and implementation of plans. Together with our partners, our extensive network will help facilitate planning to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This project complements the efforts of global immunization partners working together to improve access to critical vaccines; including the COVAX Facility, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator led by the World Health Organization; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The Project will link countries to tools and best practices that support their efforts, and pull from a pool of technical experts to provide much-needed surge capacity to country-level immunization programs.

How we’re getting started:

The COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project will comprise three phases designed to rapidly assess vaccine introduction landscape, maximize learnings and scale a successful pilot to enable equitable global delivery of vaccines. We will complete the “Plan” and “Pilot” phases by early next year. 

This will include:

  • Collaboration with Sabin’s Boost Community members, coordination with the Country Readiness and Delivery (CRaD) work stream of the COVAX Facility and selection of the four pilot countries in which to pilot the project.

  • Working hand-in-hand with national and subnational immunization professionals to analyze the pilot countries’ needs regarding vaccine introduction; leading to the creation of tailored action plans to prepare for equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The Project will link countries to tools and best practices that support their efforts, and pull from a pool of technical experts to provide much-needed surge capacity to country-level immunization programs. 

The Skoll Foundation is supporting the creation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project through start-up funding to pilot the program in four countries. As additional funders join the project, these action plans will serve as a blueprint for Phase Three, in which a successful pilot will be scaled to more than 40 countries and expanded beyond COVID-19 vaccines to strengthen life-course immunization; an approach that prioritizes timely and effective vaccination throughout the lifespan.

To learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project, please visit the project website and read the press release

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