The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six core partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
The existing GPEI infrastructure provides tools in the fight against Covid-19. There is a workforce already on the ground in over 146 countries around the world. Viral labs are testing for Covid-19 and will provide a surveillance network for future pandemics. This network is assisting in giving Covid-19 vaccination. The value of the network assistance to fight Covid 19 is estimated at $104M.
This has resulted in the temporary suspension of polio eradication efforts is to protect health workers and provide personnel to fight the Covid-19 vaccine. House-to-house polio vaccinations were paused from March – July 2020. Once health workers could get vaccinated for the Covid-19 catch-up programs were started late in 2020 with good success. Polio surveillance continued.
Efforts to eradicate polio and protect the world from the spread of Covid-19 continue in tandem thanks to the partnership of the GPEI.