In the week in which the validity of the word ‘vaccine’ itself was called into question, their value as a public health intervention was not: both New Zealand and the Republic of Korea eliminated measles and rubella. The WHO director for the Western Pacific credited strong immunisation campaigns with these successes.
This week also saw vaccines deployed in an emergency setting: 900,000 Gavi-supported oral cholera vaccines were delivered to Bangladesh, to prevent the spread of cholera among Rohingya refugees and their host communities.
In vaccine development, there were promising results from trials of two Ebola vaccines, which were found to promote an immune response for at least a year. Merck, the manufacturer of one of these vaccines, has recently reached an agreement with Gavi to stockpile 300,000 doses in advance of another outbreak. However, the Lancet Infectious Diseases warned a vaccine will not be enough to tackle future Ebola epidemics.
The gender inequality in immunisation coverage was also highlighted this week with International Day of the Girl Child on Wednesday. In response, Orin Levine, Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Gates Foundation, wrote about uncovering gender gaps in immunisation coverage.