Immunization

Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, the IFRC supports our 192 National Societies to reach vulnerable and isolated communities with life-saving vaccines.

Immunization is the foundation of healthy communities. Our millions of volunteers go the last mile to ensure that all children, everywhere get the immunizations they need to live long and healthy lives.

Every year, an estimated 20 million children do not receive routine infant immunizations. Most of these children live in fragile, conflict-affected and vulnerable communities where vaccination services are limited.

Even in areas that do have access to vaccines, a global rise in vaccine misinformation and mistrust is stopping many people from immunizing their children. Tragically, this has led to an increase in preventable diseases and deaths.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies deliver immunization activities at the local level. Because our trained volunteers are members of the very communities they serve, they are trusted even by remote and marginalized populations.

We tailor our activities to different needs and contexts. In some countries, we provide direct vaccination service delivery or offer vaccination as part of a package of primary health care services. In others, we focus on creating demand for vaccines among communities or on strengthening local health systems.

In complex situations such as humanitarian settings and during conflicts, National Societies' auxiliary role and local presence means they can bridge the gap between communities and formal health services.

Our immunization activities

In support of the government's polio vaccination campaign, a large group of Philippine Red Cross volunteers goes door-to-door in Metro Manila and Mindanao to make sure all children under 5 years of age have received the oral polio vaccine.

Vaccination campaigns and social mobilization

Red Cross volunteers discuss Ebola-related issues in a village on the Sierra Leone-Liberia border to help prevent the spread of disease and challenge harmful stigma.

Community engagement

A volunteer with the Red Cross Society of Guinea addresses a family in the village of Klalantou in the Ebola hit region of Forecariah in Guinea during door-to-door sensitisation and surveillance activities aimed at preventing the spread of Ebola.

Community-based surveillance

A doctor with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent performs a health check-up on a baby in a mobile health clinic during one of its regular stops near a school just south of Damascus

Mobile health clinics

The American Red Cross delivers a mass measles vaccination campaign with communities in Bangladesh in 2005

Outbreak response

A Somali Red Crescent Society volunteer administers an oral polio vaccine to a young girl in a rural village in Somaliland

Vaccination during emergencies

Watch: #vaccineswork

COVID-19 vaccines

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies remain at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early 2021, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement launched our five point plan to prepare for and introduce COVID-19 vaccines around the world:

  1. Advocate for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines
  2. Trust: build community trust and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines and help manage expectations
  3. Health: support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in health facilities and during outreach activities
  4. Reach the most vulnerable, especially people living in urban slums, remote rural areas, migrants, homeless and people affected by conflict, violence and disasters
  5. Maintain and strengthen other immunization services, such as routine immunization and vaccination campaigns for other diseases with a special focus on zero dose and under-immunized communities

Find out more in our Immunization Annex.

If you are from a National Society and would like to access our latest tools on COVID-19 vaccine introduction or one of our immunization working groups, please contact Indu Adhikary from the immunization team.

We have also made several COVID-19 vaccination resources available on the IFRC COVID-19 Resource Compendium.

Our impact: immunization case studies

Volunteers from the Central African Red Cross Society deliver key messages about measles vaccinations in Bambari, Ouaka prefecture in December 2019

Central African Republic

Supporting the national routine immunization programme in remote and conflict-affected districts.

A vaccinator with the Pakistan Red Crescent Society conducts outreach activities in Balochistan province in January 2020

Pakistan

Engaging and vaccinating neglected communities in hard-to-reach border areas.

Related documents

18/09/2020

pdf (6.42 MB)

Polio program transition in South Sudan: an assessment of risks a...

18/09/2020 | pdf (6.42 MB)

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17/09/2020

pdf (6.18 MB)

Polio program transition in Somalia: an assessment of risks and o...

17/09/2020 | pdf (6.18 MB)

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Our partnerships and advocacy