Routine immunisation is the strongest shield against outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as measles and yellow fever. Mitigating indirect impacts of COVID-19 on essential health services in the poorest countries is a core UK priority. As Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance's largest donor, the UK's first and foremost priority is to deliver routine immunisation, maintain coverage levels, and reach underserved zero-dose children. In June, the Prime Minister hosted the Global Vaccine Summit, which raised $8.8 billion for Gavi's core mission of immunising a further 300 million children, and saving up to 8 million lives by 2025.
Since the start of the pandemic in March, 70 Gavi-eligible countries have reported cases of COVID-19. Lockdown measures for COVID-19 have affected routine immunisation in the poorest countries - 44 Gavi vaccine introductions have been impacted so far, 18 Gavi-eligible countries have reported shipment delays, and approximately seven countries have reported stock-outs of vaccines at the central or subnational level. A number of Gavi-eligible countries have resumed campaigns and vaccine introductions, such as a measles campaign in Ethiopia, and diphtheria and oral polio vaccine campaigns in Yemen.