Backgrounder – Canadian support for global vaccinations


  • Despite the positive impact of strong routine immunization programs, about 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die annually of vaccine-preventable diseases. An estimated 20 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.
  • A recent Johns Hopkins University study confirmed that immunization is one of the best buys in public health. The overall economic gain will exceed US$1.5 trillion between 2011 and 2020 across the 94 countries in the study.
  • Infectious diseases affect women and girls disproportionately due to their role as the main caregivers for the sick, especially children.
  • Outbreaks of diseases such as the Ebola virus, Zika virus and cholera can develop into unforeseen public health emergencies, where gender inequalities can increase women’s and girls’ exposure, reduce their access to health resources and skew monitoring and reporting of health risks and outcomes.
  • Supporting Gavi is a high priority for Canada, given the organization’s strong track record for saving the lives of children and protecting people’s health by increasing the use of vaccines in vulnerable countries.
  • Gavi supports vaccines that immunize children against pneumonia, diarrhea and meningitis, some of the world’s leading killers of children.
  • A third replenishment conference for Gavi is scheduled for June 2020 in London, United Kingdom, to be hosted by Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. There, donors will make their pledges for the next strategic period from 2021 to 2025. The focus for this period is on addressing gender-related barriers to immunization. The conference will be held virtually.
  • Established in 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a partnership between the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Rotary International, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Canada has been a long-standing donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
  • The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is aligned with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and intends to ensure equitable access to life-saving vaccines and increase the representation of women as community social mobilizers and vaccinators.
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