top of page

The power of women vaccinators

Across the world, countless women are instrumental in driving global immunisation efforts. These women play a crucial role in administering vaccines and educating communities, particularly in the fight against polio. Women make up 70% of the health workforce globally, which underscores our invaluable contribution to providing essential healthcare services worldwide.

As a Registered Nurse myself, working at Monash Children’s Hospital, I recognise the important role of women in childhood immunisation - a service that safeguards the overall health and wellbeing of children and communities. The work of my fellow female healthcare workers is pivotal to the delivery of these life-saving vaccines, and to community wellbeing.

In 2020, Sadia Rizwan, a healthcare worker in Pakistan, visited numerous homes daily to administer a two-drop oral polio vaccine to children. Rizwan is among more than 100,000 female vaccinators who serve on the front line in the battle against polio. These women operate in both urban and remote communities, mitigating vaccine hesitancy and skepticism through education and culturally sensitive vaccine administration. Their gender grants them access to societal and household spheres that their male counterparts often don’t have access to. It is evident that the pivotal factor in the success of vaccination efforts lies with women.

a female healthcare worker administers a covid-19 vaccination in Pakistan

Results Australia’s advocacy has obtained substantial funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). These organisations deliver millions of vaccines every year and have tailored programs aimed at guaranteeing the vaccination of children, and recognising the role of women in vaccination programs.

The GPEI has continuously employed local strategies to involve women in the vital decision to vaccinate their children. In 2022, the Pakistan Polio Programme launched The Listening Project, to gather insights from Pakistan’s female frontline health workers and develop solutions for a polio-free future. Our progress against polio is owed to the tireless efforts and unwavering dedication of brave women committed to safeguarding children and communities from disease. 

female polio vaccination team in Sudan

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on 8 March, let’s take this moment to think of these remarkable women and their efforts to ensure that children everywhere are safe from the threat of preventable diseases. Their resilience and commitment to ensuring the health of children worldwide deserves our utmost appreciation and acknowledgement. The work of these women is not only saving lives but paving the way for a healthier and more equitable world for all. 

Jessica Scuotto Results Australia Global Health Fellow

Jessica Scuotto is a 2024 Results Australia Global Health Fellow. She holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Nursing. She is a Registered Nurse at Monash Children’s Hospital.


bottom of page