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February 05, 2020

GHTC issues statement on global vaccine action plan at WHO Executive Board Meeting

The following statement—from Global Health Council, supported by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Global Health Technologies Coalition—was delivered at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting on agenda item 8: Medicines, vaccines and health products.

Global Health Council supported by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and Global Health Technologies Coalition commend WHO and member states on progress made towards achieving immunization goals. Despite these efforts, coverage of essential vaccines increased from 84% in 2010 to 86% in 2018, leaving nearly 20 million children unvaccinated every year. Polio has not been eradicated, and resurgence of measles threatens to undo decades of progress. Any post-2020 vaccination strategy must prioritize reaching those left behind and access to essential vaccines in conflict settings, among displaced persons and during outbreaks of emerging infections like Ebola. Improved immunization programs will help counter AMR and ensure existing medicines remain effective for longer. Vaccines are an essential prevention tool, and states must invest in R&D for new vaccine technologies and increased capacity for uptake of innovations within national immunization programs.  

While we support recommendations for a post-2020 strategy placing countries at the center of strategy development, we urge prioritizing overarching global-level targets for vaccines like MMR, DTaP and IPV while allowing for disease surveillance systems at country or regional levels to inform other recommendations.

We urge WHO and member states to improve efforts to address vaccine hesitancy, recognized by WHO as a threat to global health. Vaccine action plans should prioritize research to develop better tools for providers and public health programs to effectively communicate with vaccine-hesitant families and communities. We are encouraged to see the report noting the important role non-state actors can play in strengthening vaccine strategies. As infectious disease and global health professionals, we stand ready to work with WHO on developing new vaccine strategies, the vaccine R&D pipeline, and innovative solutions to ensure uptake of these critical health interventions.

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