Equity in process: Participatory approaches to identifying country needs
By María Alejandra Sandoval and Emma Eriksson
Over the last few months, the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project (an initiative of Sabin Vaccine Institute, Dalberg, and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.) has been working to support countries as they prepare for the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine. To realize fair outcomes for COVID-19 vaccine introduction, global, regional, and country responses need to do more than secure vaccines and prioritize populations. Efforts must drive toward realistic planning and preparedness for sustainably integrating COVID-19 vaccines into country-level EPI programs. In our experience, the most effective way to do this is by deeply involving decision-makers and stakeholders in countries and communities in the planning, execution, and decision-making process.
Since October 2020, the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project has engaged with 107 sub-national and national immunization professionals from 50 countries, gathering valuable input that has informed our approach to country engagement and country support offerings. Thank you to the immunization professionals who helped us create more equitable vaccine distribution approaches by engaging through Sabin’s Boost Community, answering the Country Needs Analysis Survey, and participating in the Co-creating Equitable Approaches to COVID-19 Vaccine delivery webinar.
Through this highly participatory process, the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project identified 5 areas that would benefit from additional country-level support to ensure equitable vaccine delivery and uptake, including support for:
Effective and inclusive planning, knowledge management, and coordination
Transparent, data-driven approaches to identify, reach, track and follow up with vaccine recipients
Equitable immunization supply and cold chain
Community engagement, mobilization, demand generation, and acceptance
Health care worker and community health worker engagement and training
To learn more about our approach and the 5 equity areas, explore this brief presentation that provides a description of the current challenges and support the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project can provide to countries to ensure equity when delivering and distributing the COVID-19 vaccine.
In 2021, we will continue to refine our offerings and approach while working with Ecuador, Kenya, Nepal, and our other pilot countries and continue to engage with immunization professionals. We hope to scale up to significantly more countries and provide country governments and health systems direct technical assistance support across the 5 equity areas identified above. Additionally, we will develop adaptable global guidance and a community of practice to broaden our reach. Finally, we will continue to grow our network of private and public sector partners to help us scale our approaches and our ability to rapidly deploy the right set of capabilities, contextual expertise, and networks to make meaningful impact towards equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
If you are working with country governments (e.g. EPI focal point, EOC, NITAG members), are an implementing partner, private sector actor, or donor and are interested in partnership, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.