ON THE FRONTLINE
This year, diseases such as measles, meningitis and yellow fever have been overshadowed by the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world.
And as the world focuses on the pandemic, we must remember that these diseases will kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Vaccinations are one of the most effective ways of preventing these deadly diseases.
But getting vaccines to where they’re needed can be difficult and, in most cases, a race against time.
THE BATTLE CONTINUES
MSF continues to provide life-saving medical care to people in over 70 countries. Our teams have adapted how they operate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, medical supplies have become more expensive, equipment and vaccinations are harder to move across borders and due to travel restrictions, it has become increasingly difficult to move staff to where they are most needed.
Regardless of this, we continue to assist the people who need us most.
1.5 MILLION children die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases
3.3 MILLION vaccine doses given by MSF in 2019
A RACE AGAINST TIME
In 2019, nearly 20 million children worldwide under the age of 1 did not get basic vaccines. These simple shots, that we sometimes take for granted are vital in combating measles, meningitis and other diseases.
Nearly 3 million lives are saved every year by vaccinations.
However, 1.5 million more could be saved with better global vaccination coverage. In 2020, MSF reached over 10 million patients in 72 countries.
Vaccination is central to MSF’s medical work. When a disease breaks out, a quick response is vital.
MSF teams on the ground continuously monitor for potential outbreaks and can rapidly scale up to mount an emergency response.
But getting vaccines to where they’re needed can be difficult, and many vaccination campaigns are now under threat due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 vaccines begin to be rolled out, it is vital that other diseases are not forgotten. Imagine living through an epidemic during a pandemic. This is now a reality.
MSF EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
"Measles is completely preventable with vaccines. To stop the spread of the epidemic in DRC, we knew we had to break the chain of transmission in communities."
A large vaccination campaign would be vital in our response.
After securing access to the necessary vaccines themselves, transporting and managing their distribution took a lot of planning.
Vaccines are very environmentally sensitive to temperature and sunlight.
The vaccines had to be flown to main regional hospital, where they were temporarily stored in the special cold chain room.
From there, we used large cold boxes and icepacks to store the doses in getting them to the rural communities where they were needed; sometimes the vaccination teams might not come back from their outreach to rural villages for up to five days.
Then we had to consider how to transport all the additional items needed to deliver a mass vaccination campaign; syringes, additional medication, tents, food, spare fuel – and staff!
Getting all this right was crucial in ensuring the delivery and efficacy of each life-saving dose.
Watch the journey a vaccine takes from warehouse to patient along the cold chain ⬇