World Immunization Week – this year celebrated between 24-30 April – aims to highlight the need for collective action and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease, with an ultimate goal of having more people protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
#ACTogether is one of these initiatives and calls on football fans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The campaign also asked world leaders and policy makers to support the WHO hosted Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator programme, providing equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.
The #ACTogether campaign was already rolled-out at three FIFA tournaments – two FIFA Club World Cups and the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 – and football’s world governing body will again closely work with WHO during this year’s showcase event: the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
The campaign, which has been highlighted across multiple formats, has been a great success in reaching over 300 million TV viewers and gaining significant online engagement. FIFA Legends and current players have also helped share the message with partners.
Significant success has also been achieved via the ACT-Accelerator initiative. With the help of FIFA’s support and promotion via the #ACTogether campaign, the ACT-Accelerator vaccines pillar COVAX has secured, confirmed and donated over 2.8 billion vaccines alongside R&D support for 14 different vaccines.
The programme’s diagnostics and therapeutics partnerships also helped build the sequencing capacity that first detected the Omicron variant, and negotiated unprecedented deals with the world’s largest oxygen suppliers to increase access in more than 120 low- and middle-income countries.
FIFA has to date donated USD 10 million to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The fund has supported 12,000 intensive care beds in health systems that might otherwise have been overwhelmed, 250 million COVID-19 tests and supplied 250 million PPE items to more than 150 countries. “There can be no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge that world football has ever faced,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “That is why I am so proud of the response by FIFA.”
FIFA will continue to work closely with WHO and Qatar ahead of this year’s FIFA World Cup. Our “Healthy FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022” partnership will focus on three key areas:
• Protecting the health of all those involved in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Ensuring the event is a healthy and safe event from the implementation of precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the provision of healthy menu options.
• Using the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as a platform to promote healthy lifestyles. The tournament will inspire millions around the world to play more football and be more active including a global campaign to raise awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.
• Creating a blueprint to protect and promote health at future mass gatherings. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 represents a unique opportunity to develop a new approach to organising mega sports events factoring-in lessons learnt from the pandemic and reinforcing sports and health as a pathway for recovery.