The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Sabin Vaccine Institute Partner to Improve Vaccine Access by Strengthening Immunization Programs

February 11, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - With the mutual goal of improving access to life-saving vaccines, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recommitted its support to the Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) to relaunch a global network for immunization managers. The success of immunization programs to reach populations with vaccines depends on excellent program management. Sabin will use the three-year, U.S. $3.5 million grant to provide national and sub-national immunization managers with training, education and networking opportunities, with an emphasis on strengthening management and leadership skills.

This initiative builds on the IAIM Network (International Association of Immunization Managers), established five years ago with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help immunization managers connect, share best practices and learn from trusted peers. The IAIM Network has become the world’s largest network for immunization managers, with more than 400 managers from over 120 countries engaging in virtual or in-person activities.

“We know that improving management capabilities and skills has a direct effect on program performance,” said Dr. Bruce Gellin, president of Global Immunization at Sabin. “This network will empower immunization managers to get answers, grow in their role and raise their collective voice.”

Immunization managers are responsible for organizing every aspect of national immunization programs, including coordinating campaigns, responding to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, and communicating with the public, the media and policymakers about immunization programs and policies. As new vaccines are introduced and national programs transition away from donor support, the role of the immunization manager is growing in importance and complexity. Sabin’s network will equip immunization managers to strengthen their own professional development by connecting with peers, accessing trainings and resources, and engaging in advocacy opportunities, which will, in turn, drive improved immunization outcomes. By expanding this network, Sabin also hopes to increase the visibility of thousands of immunization managers around the world to create greater awareness of their central role in operating immunization programs.

“Immunization managers are our strongest advocates and implementers who can help expand immunization at the regional, national and sub-national levels,” said Amy Finan, Sabin’s chief executive officer. “With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sabin looks forward to working alongside immunization managers to ensure all people, everywhere receive the vaccines they need.”

Through interviews, surveys and focus groups, Sabin found that national and sub-national immunization managers share a desire to connect, build leadership skills and gain access to management resources and professional development opportunities. The network will be designed to respond to these needs with continued input from immunization managers and stakeholders.

Sabin will leverage its existing expertise and partnerships with management and leadership specialists, as well as major global health organizations, to curate trainings and related resources to address the gaps acknowledged by immunization professionals. In 2019, Sabin plans to launch a new online platform for the network and offer a range of activities and resources targeting the critical needs of immunization managers.

Watch Sabin's video announcement of the launch on YouTube.


About the Sabin Vaccine Institute

The Sabin Vaccine Institute is a leading advocate for expanding vaccine access and uptake globally, advancing vaccine research and development, and amplifying vaccine knowledge and innovation. Unlocking the potential of vaccines through partnership, Sabin has built a robust ecosystem of funders, innovators, implementers, practitioners, policy makers and public stakeholders to advance its vision of a future free from preventable diseases. As a non-profit with more than two decades of experience, Sabin is committed to finding solutions that last and extending the full benefits of vaccines to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live. At Sabin, we believe in the power of vaccines to change the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, @SabinVaccine.

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