"Building Resilience: Primary Health Care and Immunizations in the Covid-19 Context." CSIS Commission on Strengthening America's Health Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, May 18, 2021. Accessed December 21, 2023.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of essential health services worldwide, including routine immunizations. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2020, 25 years of progress in increasing immunization coverage worldwide was wiped out in 25 weeks, leading to the risk of resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases and threatening progress on other hard-won global health gains. Re-igniting progress on immunization coverage will require not just access to vaccines but also strong primary health care systems to efficiently deliver those vaccines to the public. Strong primary health care systems are also critical for extending other services to hard-to-reach populations, for advancing progress towards universal health coverage, and for promoting health security.

On May 28, 2021, the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security hosted the first in a series of conversations about the role of strong primary health care services in supporting routine immunizations and building resilience in the face of global health threats.

J. Stephen Morrison, Senior Vice President and Director of the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, offered opening remarks. Katherine E. Bliss, Senior Fellow with the CSIS Global Health Policy Center, then moderated a conversation on the role strong primary health care services can play in supporting routine immunizations, as well as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. This expert panel featured Asaf Bitton, Executive Director at Ariadne Labs; Nikolaj Gilbert, President and CEO of PATH; and Kerry Pelzman, Acting Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Global Health at USAID.

This event was made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.