From April 24 through April 30, World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates its 2021 World Immunization Week. This year, WHO chose the theme “vaccines bring us closer.” In both a literal and figurative sense, this couldn’t be more true—as vaccines hold the key to us returning to a “new normal” where social distancing isn’t required, and hugs are welcome. With this theme in mind, WHO’s goal is to increase public trust in vaccines and improve vaccine investments. Globally, immunization programs are in full swing as the COVID-19 vaccine footprint increases.
One of STChealth’s immunization partners is the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar. Prior to the pandemic, STChealth was awarded a contract to implement new disease surveillance and immunization systems to support Qatar’s successful World Cup bid. STC’s immunization information system that was already deployed in state public health systems around the U.S. was the same immunization system we deployed in Qatar. Fortunately, this system was fully deployed and operational before the pandemic hit. Since then, collecting patient COVID-19 vaccine records and reporting these to the registry has been an important tool in Qatar’s COVID-19 response.
Chrissie Gorman, a Senior Public Health expert at STChealth and Qatar’s primary subject matter expert for immunization data and infrastructure, recently reported “The first two weeks of the Qatar mass immunization events reported to their immunization system over 20,000 immunization per day.” She added that Qatar also created a digital vaccine certificate that can be used when COVID-19 vaccination proof is required to travel.
STChealth’s same expertise and technology deployed in the U.S. has also been deployed 8,000 miles away, supporting the same vaccine programs to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to residents in different countries. Quite literally, vaccines are bringing us closer, as are the information systems that empower public and private health professionals in communities worldwide.