The Future of Immunization: Lora Shimp on CSIS Take as Directed podcast
May 7th, 2020 | News
May 7th, 2020 | News
JSI’s Lora Shimp was recently interviewed in the Take as Directed podcast from the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Immunization and Universal Health Coverage: A Lifesaving Combination.
Guests Angela Shen, retired captain from the U.S. Public Health Service and visiting professor at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, and Lora, JSI’s technical director for JSI’s Immunization Center, discuss universal health coverage/care (UHC) and its relationship to immunization.
The interview examines what UHC and the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) mean and how each concept developed as well as what each means for the other. With the WHO’s next ten-year immunization plan (the Immunization Agenda 2030), about to be ratified, the podcast also explores what the future of immunization holds in an era of competing priorities.
Lora highlights that immunization is the foundation on which a larger set of health care services are built, and as such enables country programs to move away from vertical programs, providing linked services and, ultimately, a sustainable whole health approach. Because EPI is well established, immunization programs also help promote disease surveillance, among other public health benefits.
Lora also looks to the future and the implementation framework of IA2030, highlighting the need for country ownership and country-driven policies and funding. Along with, she posits, flexibility for countries to set their goals and approaches (linking across UHC interventions), the initiative can ensure success in immunizing more children—and adolescents and adults—across the lifecourse.
This interview was recorded at the end of February, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the fragility of health systems in even the most developed countries has become clear. Routine immunization rates are falling as the world also awaits a new vaccine to protect against COVID-19. JSI staff, including Lora, have been strategizing on what it will take to introduce a new COVID-19 vaccine once it has been developed.