6 May 2021, Geneva, Switzerland – UNITAR jointly with the York University and the International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders in York, Canada (CIFAL York) hosted a dialogue with 132 experts, officials, and representatives from the public and private sectors about lessons learned and challenges regarding COVID-19 vaccine deployment, as well as to present a new tool developed by UNITAR to support local and national efforts to control the pandemic through effective vaccination campaigns and protective behaviours.

Despite the heavy toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking, the long road ahead, and the fact that variants of the virus still pose much uncertainty for the future, there is hope thanks to the development of nearly a dozen vaccines that have proven effective. The challenges we now face with respect to vaccines are diverse, from how to ensure that the vaccine reaches all corners of the world and not only developed nations, to how to convince populations of its efficacy and benefits to advance, all together, in the fight against COVID-19.

For many, one of the most frequently asked questions today is when we will get vaccinated against COVID-19. Unfortunately, the answer is strongly linked to the country where we live. Developed countries - which account for only 16% of the world's population - have already purchased 60% of the vaccine doses available by 2021. The WHO called this a catastrophic moral failure as this translates into inequity within different regions around the world. In this Dialogue, government officials from Ecuador and South Africa shared their experience, lessons learned, and challenges faced in the access and deployment of vaccines.

At the same time, the current pandemic has showed that the way in which we face this pandemic and its effects, is not solely the responsibility of national governments, but of all stakeholders. All actors, including from the private sector, can play a role in the fight against COVID-19 by bringing their expertise to the table. Private companies can make a significant contribution to increasing vaccine uptake around the world if they work in close collaboration with local public health organizations. This dialogue presented practical examples on how companies like AB InBev are implementing to support local vaccine uptake promotion efforts, in close coordination with government entities.

Finally, an overview of the “Toolkit 1.0: Designing and implementing campaigns in support of vaccination efforts to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19” was presented and made available.  This Toolkit aims to provide a guidance on developing effective communication strategies focused on promoting protective behavior and maximum uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. It highlights the role of individual behaviors and social norms in vaccination and protective efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Contact us at: vaccination@unitar.org


Share with