Global HealthInfectious Disease

How Will Low-Resource Countries Get COVID-19 Shots into Arms?

How Will Low-Resource Countries Get COVID-19 Shots into Arms?

NY Times Asks and WiRED’s Vaccinator Program Answers

By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Jessie Crowdy

COVID-19 vaccines are finally being delivered in Africa — but few jabs are being administered. Why? Unfortunately, the current global emphasis rests on purchasing vaccines instead of training vaccinators.

In their July 30 lead article, the New York Times states, “The vaccine pileup illustrates one of the most serious but largely unrecognized problems facing the immunization program as it tries to recover from months of missteps and disappointments: difficulty getting doses from airport tarmacs into people’s arms.”

This story underscores the argument for WiRED International’s Vaccinator Training Program, which was created to train ordinary community members in underserved countries where medical professionals are scarce to form vaccinator teams to distribute and administer the COVID-19 vaccines.

WiRED developed the Vaccinator Training Program in 2020 — based on the World Health Organization vaccinator curriculum — and recently completed the train-the-trainer program in Kenya and Uganda, while the program will soon start in Liberia. It will further expand throughout Africa and South America. WiRED is affiliated with the WiRED International Center for Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University.

People completing WiRED’s vaccinator program will work in teams led by medical professionals. They will teach communities about the virus, set up shot clinics, administer the jabs and monitor patients for any aftereffects — thus vastly multiplying the vaccinator corps in low-resource countries.

“The vaccine pileup illustrates one of the most serious but largely unrecognized problems facing the immunization program as it tries to recover from months of missteps and disappointments: difficulty getting doses from airport tarmacs into people’s arms.” — New York Times

Unless people everywhere become vaccinated, COVID-19 variants like Delta will continue to surface and a future more virulent strain may not be stoppable by current vaccines.

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