Here in Washington, we are beginning to see a few signs of spring – warmer weather, sunnier days; all are welcome signs of renewal. Similarly, across the globe, we are seeing glimmers of hope that the pandemic, which has terrorized the world, will begin to wane. In the US, the number of cases has started to decrease and the number of vaccinations is on an upward trend.
COVAX, the collaboration of GAVI – The Vaccine Alliance, CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) and the WHO, was established to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines for all participating countries. Their first shipment of vaccines has reached Ghana and, with the community workers that were trained to provide the shots, the country can begin roll-out of the vaccination campaign. I hope that other countries will soon see their vaccine shipments arriving. Until everyone has access to the vaccine, we are all still vulnerable.
With this first glimpse of hope of a world returning to some sense of normalcy, here at HVO we have begun thinking about volunteers returning to project sites. Naturally, we will only return to a project site that is ready and comfortable to accept volunteers. We recognize that this will be a long, cumbersome process as not all countries will open in the same way, or within the same timeframe. There will be requirements about vaccinations or mandatory quarantines. There may be restrictions on travel within the country, or limits on the number of people who may gather together. This will be an ongoing process, as we assess the options, weigh the concerns and risks, and work to find appropriate and country-specific solutions. As always, we will need to remain flexible and patient as the world sorts through these issues. However, I am grateful that there is a glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark journey.
Please stay safe!
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