Volume 31, Issue 38, Pages 4055-4216 (28 August 2013)
Unequal access to vaccines in the WHO European Region during the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic in 2009
Pernille Jorgensen, Annemarie Wasley, Jolita Mereckiene, Suzanne Cotter, J. Todd Weber, Caroline Sarah Brown
In a severe pandemic, rapid production and deployment of vaccines will potentially be critical in mitigating the impact on populations and essential services. We compared access to vaccines and timing of delivery relative to identification of A(H1N1)pdm09 and the geographic progression of the pandemic in the WHO European Region in order to identify gaps in provision. Information on vaccine procurement and donations was collected through a web-based survey conducted in all 53 member states of the Region. Among the 51 countries responding to the survey, the majority (84%) implemented vaccination campaigns against A(H1N1)pdm09. However, time of vaccine receipt and number of doses varied substantially across the region, with delayed access in many countries especially in those in the lowest income range. Improving access to influenza vaccines in low resource countries and solving issues of product liability should help reduce inequalities and operational challenges arising during a future public health crisis.