Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Government of India have established a new three-year partnership that aims to reach millions of children in the country with life-saving vaccines. Through the strategic partnership, Gavi will provide US$ 250 million in funding to identify and vaccinate children who have not received a single routine vaccine, strengthen existing health systems, and help the country introduce the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) into the national routine immunization schedule.
To effectively reach the goal of reducing the number of “zero-dose” children in the country by 30%, 143 priority districts have been identified across 11 states: Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland. In the districts where immunization coverage is low, targeted interventions and strategies will be used to ensure children receive the full course of childhood vaccines. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) will also be engaged to help build stronger demand for vaccines and generate a better understanding of the importance of vaccination amongst target communities. Lessons learned from these engagements will be replicated and expanded to other areas in the country and leveraged to strengthen routine immunization across the nation.
“Thanks to India’s political commitment at the highest levels, and through action and innovation at the national and sub-national levels, India has shown what can be achieved to improve access to routine immunization services across the country – especially for marginalized populations. “We look forward to working closely with the Government of India to build on this progress, support more communities, and protect millions more children from vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “We also support India’s G20 Presidency and its vision to better prepare for future pandemics.”
The number of zero-dose children in India decreased from 6.8 million in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2019. However, disruptions caused by the pandemic led to an increase in the number of zero-dose children globally including India, in which there were 2.7 million zero-dose children in 2021.
Gavi is intensifying its efforts to reach zero-dose children and missed communities to reduce the number of zero-dose children by 25% by 2025, leveraging the power of innovation and new partnerships. In June 2022, Gavi launched the Zero-Dose Immunization Programme (ZIP) – an innovative initiative that is providing two consortia of partners with up to US$ 100 million to identify and reach zero-dose children living in displaced communities and fragile and conflict settings across Africa.
India has long championed digital technologies and innovative health solutions, and this will continue to be a priority throughout its G20 presidency, under the G20 Health Track. For example, the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) originally designed in 2015 with support from Gavi and partners, to monitor vaccine supply chains in real time was adapted during the pandemic (and branded as Co-WIN) to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reach as many people as possible. Gavi will feature this and other innovative solutions in upcoming G20 dialogues to help shape the Digital Health agenda.