How to succeed the Vaccination campaign? Private and Public Sectors Hand in Hand!

By Samer Sakr1* (Ph.D)

1 Department of Biological and Chemical Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon, P.O. Box 146404

*Corresponding author: [email protected]

The novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, that emerged in Wuhan, China, is devastating the world. As of April 17, 2021, 139,501,934 million people had been infected with the new coronavirus worldwide including 2,992,193 deaths. The disease has spread in more than 210 countries and territories, with the United States of America cumulating around one-fifth of all global cases (1). It is caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus is transmitted throughout respiratory droplets particularly during face to face contact. The infection could be asymptomatic. Symptomatic persons could develop fever, dry cough, fatigue and could suffer from shortness of breath that could lead to acute respiratory failure a symptom that is specific to the COVID-19 compared to the flue infection and allergy (2). The fatality rate for COVID-19 increases with the patients’ age ranging from 3 deaths per 10000 cases among patients aged 5 to 17 years to 3049 deaths per 10000 cases among patients aged 85 years or older in the United States (3).

In order to combat this pandemic, outstanding efforts need to be invested to develop and offer to the population protective vaccines.

Combating the spread of the viruses and saving lives rely on the efficiency of the vaccination program. A determinant key of this efficiency depends on how fast would be the national vaccination campaigns. Accordingly, engaging the Private Sector to Support National Immunization campaigns is a must by contributing to a significant proportion of vaccination. Many countries have engaged with the private sector to reach their goal in terms of immunization program. The private sector is heavily involved in the national immunization campaigns in terms of education, raising the awareness, disease surveillance and providing vaccination services (4, 5, and 6). In Afghanistan, despite the fact that it has been ravaged by war, the success of the immunization was due to the involvement of key partners from the civil society (6). Vaccines could be provided by the Ministry of Health then distributed to private providers for administration (7). Such agreement has the advantage to increase the control and standardization of the vaccination campaign (8, 9).  In some African countries such as Ghana and Kenya only 12 to 20% (respectively) of private clinics, received financial or technical assistance from the government for childhood vaccinations (10). However, in some High-income countries, vaccination is delivered by the private sector using mechanisms to provide vaccine coverage data that is submitted to the public sector (8).  Agreements, memorandums of understanding (MOU) between governments and the private sector to define relationships, can allow the private sector to expand their contribution to the immunization plans (11).

Recommendations: The way forward

  • Increasing the collaboration and communication with private providers delivering vaccination services (e.g. whether governments supplies vaccines to private sector (or not)). If the Ministry of health is providing the vaccines, then the private sector should deliver it free of charge.
  • Optimizing the delivery by assessing the role of private providers in the immunization services.
  • Respecting the appropriate timeline/schedule of the immunization campaign with a high-quality service.
  • Private providers should be involved in the national awareness and education campaign in line with the ministry of health recommendations.

References:

  1. https://covid19.who.int/
  2. Marcelle M.S., Gustavo Marçal Schmidt Garcia M. and Marcelo M. DNA vaccines against COVID-19: Perspectives and challenges. Life Science 2021. 267.118919. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2020.118919
  3. W. Joost W.,   Andrew R.,  Allen C.C. et al.,  Pathophysiology, Transmission, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA. 2020; 324(8):782-793. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12839
  4. Lydon P, Raubenheimer T, Arnot-krüger M, Zaffran M. Outsourcing vaccine logistics to the private sector : The evidence and lessons learned from the Western Cape Province in South-Africa. Vaccine [Internet]. Elsevier Ltd; 2015;33(29):3429– 34. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.03.042
  5. Spring CP. Healthy partnerships : how governments can engage the private sector to improve health in Africa. [Internet]. World Bank; 2011 [cited 2016 Nov 5]. 152 p. Available from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/323351468008450689/Healthy-partnerships-how-governments-canengage-the-private-sector-to-improve-health-in-Africa
  6. World Health Organization. Global Vaccine Action Plan – Monitoring, Evaluation and Accountability. Secr Annu Rep. 2016
  7. Mitrovich R, Marti M, Watkins M, Duclos P. A Literature Review of Immunization Service Delivery by the Private Sector in Low, Middle, and High-Income Countries. Health Policy Plan. In preparation.
  8. Levin A, Kaddar M. Role of the private sector in the provision of immunization services in low- and middle-income countries. Health Policy Plan. 2011;26(SUPPL. 1):4–12.
  9. Lahariya C. Vaccine Epidemiology: A review. J Fam Med Prim Care. 2016;5(1):7–15
  10. World Bank. 2008. The business of health in Africa : partnering with the private sector to improve people’s lives. International Finance Corporation. Washington, DC: World Bank. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/878891468002994639/The-business-of-health-in-Africa-partnering-withthe-private-sector-to-improve-peoples-lives
  11. Horton R, Clark S. The perils and possibilities of the private health sector. Lancet
  12. Elsevier Ltd; 2016;388(10044):540–1. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30774-7
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