A ‘devil’s choice’: balancing childhood immunisation with preparing for COVID-19

Barbara has worked as a nurse with MSF for over eleven years in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Haiti, Iraq, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Bangladesh.
© Alexis Huguet/MSF/ Joseph Drobho Giria holds his two-year-old daughter, Bhileru Drobho, who suffers from measles, in the measles unit run by MSF at Biringi Hospital, Ituri Province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on 06 November 2019
© Gabriele Francois Casini/ Health staff at the Al Sabah hospital in Juba, South Sudan attend a training supported by MSF ahead of the expected arrival of COVID-19 patients.

Vaccines saves lives. And I don’t say that because a modelling study told me so, but because I have seen it again and again in the eleven years I have been working in this field.

Of course, all countries must take serious COVID-19 precautions and actions to protect their communities and health workers. It’s crucial. Yet at the same time, diseases that can be prevented by vaccination can be just as deadly and should continue to be addressed robustly — children shouldn’t have to miss out on being protected. These aren’t easy decisions to make, but while maintaining immunisation services as much as possible right now may seem like an extra burden, the situation will be even worse if countries have to deal with both COVID-19 and one or more outbreaks of another disease, be it measles, meningitis, cholera or a whole host of others.

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MSF Access Campaign — Medicines Are Not a Luxury

MSF Access Campaign — Medicines Are Not a Luxury

This blog is a place to reflect on our experiences working for access to medicines. For the official MSF Access Campaign website please visit msfaccess.org.