‘The Big Catch-up’: Chelsea Clinton Partners With WHO, Gates Foundation on ‘Largest Childhood Immunization Effort Ever’

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by Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D., Childrens Health Defense:

Warning that the world is less prepared for the next pandemic than it was prior to the spread of COVID-19, Chelsea Clinton — via the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) — along with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched an initiative called “The Big Catch-up.”

“The Big Catch-up” will last 18 months and, according to Clinton, aims to become “the largest childhood immunization effort ever,” Fortune reported.

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Clinton, who serves as vice chair of CHAI, last week presented the initiative at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health Conference in Marina del Rey, California.

One day earlier, under the auspices of World Immunization Week, the WHO introduced “The Big Catch-up,” describing it as a “targeted global effort to boost vaccination among children following declines driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the WHO:

“This effort aims to reverse the declines in childhood vaccination recorded in over 100 countries since the pandemic, due to overburdened health services, closed clinics, and disrupted imports and exports of vials, syringes and other medical supplies.”

During the pandemic, lockdowns led to restricted travel, which limited access to healthcare and other services, and in many cases, families suffered financial hardship, the WHO said.

“Ongoing challenges like conflicts, climate crises and vaccine hesitancy also contributed to the decline in coverage rates,” according to the WHO, which said the new initiative will act as “an extended effort to lift vaccination levels among children to at least pre-pandemic levels and endeavours to exceed those.”

More than 25 million children missed at least one vaccination in 2021 alone, leading to “outbreaks of preventable diseases, including measles, diphtheria, polio and yellow fever,” the WHO said.

“The Big Catch-up” will focus on the 20 countries — all in Africa, Asia and Central and South America — where three-quarters of the children who missed vaccinations in 2021 live.

According to Fortune, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than 70% of children in the U.S. under age 2 were considered “fully vaccinated” — defined as “having received a full set of shots for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, and other diseases common before the vaccine era” — during 2020-2021.

The CDC data also show that only 10% of children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Dec. 31, 2022.

During her presentation at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health Conference, Clinton described the rise in “vaccine hesitancy” and growing rejection of vaccines as “unfortunate,” adding that she had “tempered” her words.

“No one should die of polio, measles, or pneumonia — including in this country, where we also need people to vaccinate their kids,” she added.

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