WiRED Requests Support to Expand Vaccinator Training Program
Meeting the Need to Train Vaccinators in Underserved Countries
By Allison Kozicharow; Edited by Elizabeth Fine
WiRED International has run a number of articles on this website about our Vaccinator Training Program, but as we get closer to the day COVAX distributes vaccines, our concerns are growing about the availability of qualified staff in underserved countries to move the vaccines, set up shot clinics and administer the vaccinations. We recognize that agencies supplying vaccines have not prepared for the shortage of vaccination teams, so to avoid vaccines spoiling in warehouses we’re stepping up our efforts to reach out to regional health agencies and to donors for assistance with this vaccinator training program. So far, we have successfully trained medical teams in Kenya, Uganda and Liberia and funded this with small donations. We are asking our supporters to circulate the following statement (in PDF form here) and at the end of the article) about our Vaccinator Training Program with the aim of reaching larger donors to make this program available across Africa, Latin America and beyond.
Vaccinator Training Program
“The vaccine pileup [in low-income countries] illustrates one of the most serious but largely unrecognized problems facing the immunization program: difficulty getting doses from airport tarmacs into people’s arms.” – The New York Times, August 2, 2021
“Only 30% [of developing countries] have developed plans to train the large number of vaccinators who will be needed . . . .” – The World Bank, March 2021
“The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest health challenges the world has ever faced. In order to . . . curb the emergence of variants, we must fight it everywhere it exists.” – USAID COVID-19 Response, July 2021
“The fact that the COVID-19 pandemic will persist . . . in less developed portions of the world, creates. . . . the possibility that the virus could mutate into a variant that current vaccines can’t control. . . . “ – Joseph V. Micallef in Military.com, February 2021
The missing links in the vaccination chain will be trained people to distribute and administer vaccines in local communities. Without trained workers, vaccination programs will slow to a crawl, and life-saving vaccines will sit spoiling in warehouses.
WiRED International, a U.S.-based non-profit, working in Africa and Latin America for over two decades, has enhanced a World Health Organization (WHO) program to train COVID-19 vaccination teams. The in-person training, which takes four days, is a force-multiplier, allowing local doctors and nurses in low-income countries to increase the capacity to move vaccines, set up shot clinics and administer the vaccinations. The curriculum is available online and for downloading to any device. A local doctor or nurse offers the training to ordinary people from local communities. The curriculum prepares vaccination teams to greatly expand the capacity of threadbare medical staff to distribute vaccines and administer the shots to large numbers of people.
In addition to training grassroots vaccinators to perform all the WHO-prescribed tasks, the program offers refresher training to retired medical professionals called back into service to help vaccinate.
WiRED International uses computer technology to deliver high-quality medical and health education to the world’s poorest regions. With a grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health 20 years ago, WiRED provided HIV/AIDS training in Africa; it continues rigorous health training programs there today. With U.S. Department of State backing, WiRED provided medical training in each of the former Yugoslavian countries, and again with the DOS, WiRED supplied the first medical education programs in Iraq in spring 2003; it continued health training in Iraq for six years.
For the present vaccinator program, WiRED has allied with an accredited university to form the WiRED International Center for Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University. The WiRED board comprises physicians and nursing professors, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States and a former Surgeon General of the Navy, university professors, IT experts and prominent business men and women.