WHO: 15 African countries launch synchronized polio immunization to reach 72 million children

WHO announced that 15 countries across Africa launched a synchronized mass polio immunization campaign to reach 72 million children. WHO said that “some 290,000 vaccinators have been mobilized to go door-to-door to deliver two drops of oral polio vaccine (OPV) to every child under five in areas considered at ‘highest risk’ of polio transmission.”  This is part of a series of synchronized immunization activities which began in 2009 and continued in March and April, 2010, following the spread of polio from Nigeria to 24 countries across west and central Africa and in the Horn of Africa.

“We are on the cusp of an exciting possibility here,” said Dr Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “Political leaders across Africa answered the challenge posed by this dreadful disease and the results are before us. It shows what can be done when there is leadership and dynamic partnership with donor support around such an important health issue. We need to continue efforts to vaccinate and to put the needs of children in Africa first.” The 15-country synchronized activities will cost approximately US$42.6 million, and are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, Rotary International, UNICEF and the Governments of Germany and Japan.


Revised WHO-UNICEF Joint Statement on Vaccine Donations

WHO released a revised WHO-UNICEF Joint Statement on Vaccine Donations WHO/IVB/10.09 which “updates previous WHO statements on vaccine donations (WHO/VSQ/97.05; WHO/V&B/00.25) and clarifies situations which were not covered by the previous policy statement, such as donations for research projects and donations in the case of emergency, epidemic or pandemic situations.”

[Full text]

“…Exceptional Situations

There may be exceptional situations when it is not possible to meet the minimum requirements outlined above. These commonly include:

– Donations to research projects:

The use of vaccine donated for research purposes must be guided by the International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects issued by the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) in collaboration with the World Health Organization ( http:\\www.cioms.ch\frame_guidelines_nov_2002.htm), the Declaration of Helsinki, and supplemented by other internationally and nationally accepted statements of ethical guidance adopted by the recipient country.

Such projects must also comply with other national regulations and requirements related to medical research involving human subjects. New vaccines or devices that have not received regulatory approval in the country should not be used on human subjects without the appropriate approval being obtained from the National Drug Regulatory Agency for their use under the conditions of the study. Under these circumstances, it is especially important to ensure the suitability of the product, its presentation, and its schedule, as it may not be yet licensed in the recipient country nor WHO prequalified.

– Vaccines donated for emergency, epidemic or pandemic situations when it may not be possible to apply all the minimum specifications above:

In some instances the vaccine specifications and presentation may vary from what is in routine use, the remaining shelf life may be limited, and sustainability is not an issue. In such cases the most important considerations are that the vaccine is suitable to the country’s needs from the public health perspective and that the responsible officials in the recipient country are in full agreement with shipping the vaccine, and are able to respond to quality and storage aspects of the donation. In addition, as with any other donation, the vaccine is subject to prescribed licensing and/or other control procedures set up by the recipient government. In such cases it is also useful for recipient countries to have an immunization plan…”


Luxembourg commits EUR 7.5 million to Global Fund

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced that Luxembourg’s will commit EUR 7.5 million to the Global Fund for the period 2011-2013, “making it one of the top per capita donors.” Luxembourg has been a donor to the Global Fund since its inception in 2002. The Grand Duchy’s contributions to the Global Fund “have been increasing since then and by the end of 2013 they will have reached EUR 26 million.”


APHA vote ahead on position statement: “Annual Influenza Vaccination of Health Workers”

The APHA Governing Council will be considering approval of a position statement on “Annual Influenza Vaccination of Health Workers” at its annual meeting next week in Denver. The proposed position statement “provides an up-to-date influenza-specific context for APHA’s longstanding policy recommending vaccination requirements for healthcare and laboratory workers and students for all vaccine-preventable diseases. APHA said public debate open to all conference attendees will take place Sunday afternoon (7 November 2010); the Governing Council will vote on the position statement on Tuesday (8 November 2010). The draft position statement is available at:   http://www.apha.org/NR/rdonlyres/FAD4A159-875C-4186-8B46-5B300DA1E37A/0/D1Resubmission.pdf.  Please see Event Watch below for information on the APHA meeting.

Gates Foundation announces next stage of Grand Challenges

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the next stage of Grand Challenges Explorations, with “nine outstanding Grand Challenges Explorations grantees have received new funding of up to $1 million each to support continued research on their innovative work.” The Foundation said these projects “have shown success during their initial grant period and align with the foundation’s strategic global health priorities, including vaccines, family health, and infectious disease. The grantees come from diverse disciplines and are at various stages in their careers, but share a common goal—to make breakthrough advances that lead to new solutions to improve health worldwide.”