October 2021: Partner News Round-up

A collection of campaign stories captured and curated by Linksbridge SPC

 

Featured Stories

Afghanistan will launch a nationwide effort to immunize children against polio on November 8, responding to the Taliban’s decision to support resumption of house-to-house polio vaccination across the country. A supplementary dose of vitamin A will also be provided to children ages 6-59 months. The campaign will be the first in over three years to reach all children in the country, including more than 3.3 million young people in regions previously unreachable by vaccination efforts. The country’s Taliban leadership has also agreed to a second nationwide polio campaign, to be synchronized with neighboring Pakistan’s immunization drive in December. WHO EMRO; UN News

India plans to launch a month-long, door-to-door Covid-19 immunization drive on November 2 to reach areas where less than 50% of the eligible population has been vaccinated against the disease. As part of the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign, health workers will go door-to-door in 48 districts to deliver both first and second doses. Hindustan Times

 

Spotlight on Covid-19 Campaigns

Burundi has launched its Covid-19 vaccination campaign with CNBG vaccine donations from China, prioritizing “healthcare workers, the elderly, and people with incurable diseases.” Only Eritrea and North Korea have not yet initiated Covid-19 vaccination campaigns. US News

Brazil has vaccinated 73% of its population with at least one Covid-19 dose as of October 14, including 99% of São Paulo residents ages 18 and older. Despite a slow campaign start in January, a survey found that 94% of Brazilians intend to get vaccinated. Brazil’s strong vaccine culture is rooted in its universal public health system, which has “established the government as a trusted provider of basic free healthcare to the communities who need it the most.” Salon

Portugal wound down its military-led vaccine task force after reaching its target of fully inoculating 85% of its population of 10.3 million last month, including 98% of those eligible (anyone over 12 years old). Vice Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo used the rhetoric of war to fight the pandemic, assembling a diverse team of leaders and making a point to mobilize “people who are not politicians.” He also deployed the military to serve as the public face of vaccination, building confidence and trust in the health system: “People could see the vaccines were safe as soldier after soldier got shots.” Prime Minister António Costa also highlighted the country’s acceptance of vaccinations as a primary reason for success. New York Times; News 18

In September, Ecuador announced that it had vaccinated 9 million people in 100 days, achieved through the government’s proactive procurement of various vaccines through multiple channels, the deployment of 1,700 health brigades, and the opening of 520 vaccination centers. Ecuadorian Health Minister Ximena Garzón attributed the social mobilization of key players to the country’s vaccine success, stating that “the Armed Forces were key for reaching remote areas, and private enterprises made their logistical capacity available, as did universities, unions, local governments, and the entire ministerial cabinet.” The country expects to continue collaborating with other nations, multilateral organizations, and the Ecuadorian population to vaccinate most of the population by year-end, including children age 6 and older. World Bank

 

Outbreak Response

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) began an Ebola vaccination campaign on October 13 in the country’s eastern city of Beni in North Kivu province, in response to a laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola on October 8. A ring vaccination approach will inoculate close contacts (and contacts of contacts) and frontline workers with the rVSV-ZEBOV shot. Reuters; WHO

DRC also launched a reactive meningitis vaccination campaign in Tschopo province in October. At least 150,000 people ages 1 to 49 in the Banalia health zone were targeted in an effort to curb the outbreak (declared on September 7). WHO AFRO; News Ghana; ReliefWeb

Nigeria’s Anambra state launched the first round of a cVDPV2 polio outbreak response campaign October 6, targeting children under age 5 with nOPV2 drops. This was the first time that Anambra used nOPV2. ASPHCDA

Nigeria’s Osun state kicked off the second round of an nOPV2 polio outbreak response campaign on October 18. During the six-day vaccination drive, 1,666 house-to-house teams reached over 1 million children under age 5 with nOPV2 drops. WHO Nigeria

Nigeria’s Jigawa state ran the first round of a cholera outbreak response campaign October 21-26, targeting over 900,000 people age 1 and older with oral cholera vaccine. The second round of the reactive campaign is slated for November 20-24. WHO Nigeria

 

Local Campaigns

Pakistan will hold a national measles and rubella immunization drive from November 15-27, targeting 91.5 million children ages 9 months to 15 years. In the campaign, 9,000 fixed EPI centers and 67,000 outreach teams will vaccinate children in communities, madrassahs, and schools, and 900 mobile and special vaccination teams will target children at high risk and underserved children in hard-to-reach areas. During the campaign, oral polio drops will also be administered to children under age 5. EPI Pakistan

India’s Assam state launched an immunization drive against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) on October 12, targeting 4 million people in 99 development blocks. The campaign will target an expanded population ages 15-65, following an earlier JE vaccination campaign this year for children ages 1-15. The Sentinel; Devdiscourse

Syria kicked off its second nationwide polio vaccination campaign this year on October 10, targeting 2.8 million children under age 5. During the five-day campaign, over 10,000 health workers vaccinated children through 960 health centers and 1,200 mobile teams. WHO Syria; Syrian Arab News Agency

Ethiopia launched its first polio vaccination campaign with nOPV2 drops on October 22, targeting over 17 million people under age 5. Ethiopia is the sixth country in Africa to roll out nOPV2, following Benin, Congo, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Gambia, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda also plan to implement mass immunization campaigns using nOPV2 by the end of the year. WHO Ethiopia; WHO AFRO

The Philippines launched a polio vaccination catch-up campaign in Metro Manila on October 13 to reach children under age 2 who missed out on oral polio drops and other routine immunizations due to challenges in accessing health services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Manila Times; Philippines DoH

Kenya and Uganda launched a joint cross-border MDA exercise against trachoma on October 21 in Kenya’s West Pokot and Turkana counties along with neighboring communities in Uganda. Kenya’s national trachoma elimination program aims to treat 2,826,638 people across seven counties of Baringo, Isiolo, Kajiado, Narok, Samburu, Turkana, and West Pokot this year. Kenya MoH

WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization endorsed transitioning the novel OPV type 2 vaccine (nOPV2) from initial to wider use under WHO Emergency Use Listing, following a review of safety and genetic stability data from mass immunization campaigns. The decision (announced October 11) marks the end of the vaccine’s initial use period and the removal of certain use criteria for countries affected by cVDPV2 outbreaks. Rollout of nOPV2 began in March; approximately 100 million doses have been administered to children across seven countries. An additional 16 countries have been verified as ready to use nOPV2 by GPEI while 17 other countries are preparing to use it. More nOPV2 campaigns are due to launch later this year, although supply of the vaccine is limited. GPEI

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