The 4th of June was a red- letter day for the world, particularly for the world’s children and for a global community beset with COVID-19. Participants at GAVI’s third donor pledging Global Vaccine Summit, included 42 heads of state and all the leaders of the G7 and G20 nations who pledged US$ 8.8 billion to protect the world’s most vulnerable children from infectious disease.
At the same time, world leaders pledged an additional US$ 567 million in initial seed money to support the Gavi Covax AMC which will ensure that people in low- and lower middle-income countries get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are licensed.
The benefits of vaccination against infectious diseases which particularly strike children in low and middle- income countries are obvious to us all. The elimination of smallpox, the virtual elimination of polio and the drastic reduction in diphtheria, tetanus and rubella stand as testimony to the science and to the vision of the WHO and philanthropists such as Bill and Melinda Gates.
But all is not what it seems. Recently published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, a commentary article by Keiichi Fujiwara and Michael Quinn highlights the potential for disruption to any successful COVID-19 roll-out by what is an increasingly robust and well-resourced anti-vaccine lobby using the illustration of Japan and HPV vaccination.
COVID-19 infection has special implications for cancer patients and for pregnant women. IGCS believes that any vaccine program will be adequately tested before introduction and has the potential to significantly reverse the huge social and health impacts of COVID-19. We urge our members worldwide to ensure that their political leaders are not swayed with false information and to facilitate any new vaccine uptake.