GHTC delivers statement on Immunization Agenda 2030 at HHS WHA listening session
GHTC delivered the following statement, on the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda item 13.8, Immunization Agenda 2030, on May 13, 2021 at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) WHA stakeholder listening session:
The Global Health Technologies Coalition appreciates the opportunity to comment on the agenda item focused on the Immunization Agenda 2030 ahead of the World Health Assembly.
Despite continued efforts, coverage of essential vaccines only increased from 84 percent in 2010 to 86 percent in 2018, leaving nearly 20 million children unvaccinated every year. Polio has not been eradicated, and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undo decades worth of progress. Dozens of countries have reported disruptions to vital immunization programs, including at least 30 measles programs at risk of being cancelled, which could fuel outbreaks this year and beyond. Improved immunization programs can help counter rising rates of antimicrobial resistance by reducing the need to use antimicrobial drugs, extending the efficacy of existing medicines.
Vaccines are an essential prevention tool, and member states must invest in research and development for new vaccine technologies coupled with increased capacity-building for the uptake of existing and new vaccines. We do not have all the vaccines we need to prevent diseases that threaten health and well-being globally.
We urge the US to work with WHO and member states to strengthen mechanisms to identify vaccine-related research and priorities for innovation according to community needs, particularly for underserved populations, and ensure that the priorities inform innovations in immunization products, services and practices.
We also call on the United States to focus on the full spectrum of innovations that support immunization programs, from storage, to new vaccine administration infrastructure, to co-administration with other health interventions, to novel approaches to service delivery. Vaccines are only useful if they reach those who need them, and many different types of innovation are necessary to achieve universal access.
Lastly, the US should continue to invest to accelerate the development of new vaccines, technologies and improved products, services and practices, while ensuring continued progress in the development of vaccines for priority targets, including HIV, TB, malaria and emerging infectious diseases.