THE COORDINATING Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammed Pate, has called for global collaboration to strengthen childhood vaccination efforts and vaccine research in the region.
Pate made the call while addressing the First Asia Pacific Summit on Infectious Diseases and Immunisation, organised by the Asia Pacific Immunisation Coalition (APIC) with theme “Vaccination for All: Access, Confidence, and Equity (ACE)” in Singapore.
The minister highlighted the challenges faced in the 21st century, including the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical tensions, regional conflicts, economic uncertainties, widening inequities, and climate change.
He emphasised the critical role of vaccines in addressing these crises and called for equitable access, enhanced confidence, and global health equity.
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“The summit aims to foster collaboration, strengthen partnerships, and ensure that vaccines continue to be a beacon of hope in the age of poly-crisis,” he said.
In such a complex and interconnected world, Pate stressed the strategic role of vaccines in combating infectious threats and protecting human health.
He acknowledged the significant progress made in global health over the past 25 years, with increased life expectancies and reduced child mortality rates, thanks to the expansion of global access to vaccines.
He also highlighted the role of vaccines in mitigating the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing for reopening and economic recovery.
However, he noted that there were still major challenges in ensuring equitable access to vaccines.
“Millions of children worldwide have not completed their basic immunization series, and many lack access to newer vaccines,” he said.
He also highlighted threats to vaccine access and confidence, including lagging COVID-19 vaccine coverage in lower-income countries and the rise of anti-science and anti-vaccine movements.
Pate outlined three key themes of the summit: access, confidence, and equity.
He emphasised the need to prioritise equitable access to vaccines, break down barriers, and integrate vaccine delivery within national health systems.
“Building confidence in vaccines was highlighted as a crucial endeavour, requiring clear communication, addressing misinformation, and engaging with communities.
“Achieving equity in access to vaccines, both within and between countries, was emphasized as a cornerstone for a healthier and more just world.”,” he said.
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NAN reports that the summit seeks to mobilise global efforts, strengthen partnerships, and ensure that vaccines continue to be a beacon of hope in the age of poly-crisis.
The summit which ends on Wednesday brought together experts, policymakers, industry leaders, and stakeholders from around the globe to engage in thought-provoking discussions and collaborative efforts.
The two-day event featured panel discussions, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities to address disparities in vaccine distribution and access across regions and communities. Participants also explored innovative strategies for building trust and confidence in vaccines, shared successful vaccination campaigns and initiatives from various countries and fostered partnerships and collaborations for global vaccine equity. (NAN)