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Global Health Diplomacy and Immunization

Ambassador Eric P. Goosby, MDAmbassador Eric Goosby
Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator
U.S. Department of State

Goal 5 of the National Vaccine Plan protects the health of the American public and addresses human suffering globally by reducing the burdens of morbidity and mortality, of vaccine-preventable illnesses.  

The Office of Global Health Diplomacy was established within the U.S. Department of State to add the skills and abilities of the diplomat to the pursuit of U.S. global health priorities.  Diplomatic expertise complements the considerable technical, systems strengthening, and development capabilities applied by personnel of federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Successfully implementing the global elements of the National Vaccine Plan is contingent on productive engagement with multilateral institutions like the World Health Organization, and partner governments around the world who we support and depend upon to successfully scale surveillance of vaccine preventable illnesses and sustainable immunization programs.  Many milestones can already be celebrated, but we must use every tool at our disposal – including the soft power of diplomacy – to have finite resources stretch as effectively as possible.

I am delighted to salute the considerable progress already underway in implementing the 2010 National Vaccine plan here at home and around the world.  Internationally, we have helped low- and middle-income countries increase their capacity for vaccine production, made great strides in polio eradication, and have launched important public private partnerships like MenAfriVac®, and the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Alliance to address meningitis and HPV, respectively.

In the coming year we will look for expanded opportunities to have our ambassadors and diplomats around the world contribute to even stronger and more productive bilateral and multilateral relations associated with our global health priorities.  This will help to speed the day when we all celebrate the broadest possible coverage of protective vaccines.