In some areas suspicion about vaccines in general can provide another distribution roadblock, the report authors concluded. And long-term global changes, including climate change and the emergence of novel diseases, ensure the battle to eradicate preventable diseases will not be easily—if ever—fully won. The report authors noted, for example: "Climate change looms large and is likely to alter the epidemiological landscape in which vaccines and immunization operate—bringing new health challenges."
Despite the note of victory in many of the voices of those who have worked long years to reach the 100-million-immunization mark, a tone of caution presided. Approximately 10 million children still die every year—many of those from preventable diseases that are contracted due to lack of access to clean water or existing vaccines. For example, pneumonia and diarrhea, together, account for more than a third of deaths in children younger than five years, the report noted. And the inequality between those who die from these illnesses and those for whom they are a minor, treatable malady, points to broader societal issues, many of the experts asserted.
"The topic of health must be included in any policy dialogue," PAHO's Andrus said at the briefing. Others involved in the work agreed that, indeed, global health was a key element to overcoming many other international challenges. "We see health as a bridge to peace," added Stephen Blount, director of the Coordinating Office for Global Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.