Geneva, 1 August 2022 (TDI): MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) issued an international activity report on the subject of COVID-19 with a featured article on the difficulties of turning vaccines into vaccinations.

Ranging from Cameroon to Afghanistan and Bangladesh to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the MSF teams implemented COVID-19 immunization and testing throughout 2021.

MSF offered medical assistance and humanitarian aid to all the nations affected by the surging infections as COVID-19 reached its second year.

The organization’s top priority remained improving infection prevention and control procedures, improving mental health assistance, educating healthcare personnel, and providing hospital treatment for severe COVID patients. However, the absence of disease-fighting instruments made the treatment quite difficult.

In Aden, Yemen, 84% of the patients admitted to intensive care at one of the MSF’s hospitals during the pandemic didn’t survive. COVID-19 vaccinations were the need of the hour at that time of the outbreak.

Nevertheless, the vaccinations that emerged in early 2021 quickly altered the game, at least for the wealthier countries that began administering them at scale.

According to the MSF report, given the malnutrition and disorders that their patients regularly battled, outcomes of patients must’ve been improved due to vaccinations. However, due to the monopoly on vaccine supplies by wealthy countries, those patients were left unprotected.

Therefore, MSF launched a vigorous campaign that emphasized the need for equitable distribution of vaccines worldwide and for mechanisms to expand access.

Measures for the equitable distribution of vaccines

The availability of vaccines had increased by mid-2021 and was expanded enough to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goals. Conversely, the demand for vaccines in some low-income nations turned out to be low, partly due to shortfalls in the infrastructure.

The report reveals that despite all the uncertainty over priority, MSF aimed for an agile strategy. MSF strengthened the precautions taken to avoid and control infections in each area.

Teams of the INGO integrated immunization and testing into project locations in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Eswatini, and Kenya.

Additionally, the activities of the team were adjusted according to needs. In Iraq, for instance, the team cared for patients with severe illness during peaks and moved to immunization, community outreach, and staff training during ebbs.

Also, MSF supported national vaccination campaigns in Lebanon, Brazil, Malawi, Peru, and Uganda.

The report indicates that MSF’s COVID-19 response has given food for thought on various vital issues. For instance, different ways of better preparing other healthcare services to resist the harm caused by diverting existing healthcare resources to pandemic response.