Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly

Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly [full documentation]

Editor’s Note:
The World Health Assembly concluded with a number high-level actions summarized in news releases as below. We focus below on action around immunization and include the full text of the WHA Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) resolution. We note the aggressive call in the resolution for action on vaccine pricing transparency.

Delegates discuss progress towards global immunization goals
25 May 2015 – Fifty-two speakers, including 46 delegates of Member States, one observer (Chinese Taipei), four civil society organizations and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance took the floor during the discussion on the Global Vaccine Action Plan.

Delegates welcomed the GVAP assessment report, and commended the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization on the recommendations in the report.

Delegates took note and expressed concern that the progress with the implementation of GVAP was patchy and slow and “far off-track” for achieving five out of six targets for 2014 and 2015.

WHO’s fundamental role in facilitating the implementation of the GVAP was acknowledged, stressing the important and leading role that WHO should play to:
:: Improve vaccine price transparency and build mechanisms that promote healthy and competitive vaccine markets, tackle the problems faced by middle income countries to secure sustainable supplies of vaccines at affordable prices, particularly for the newer vaccines.
:: Work to enhance awareness of the value of vaccines to increase acceptance of immunization and to mitigate the risks posed by misinformation leading to vaccine hesitancy and refusal.
:: Analyse the causes of vaccine stock out and develop tools to respond immediately to any supply shortfalls.
:: Regularly convene countries that remain off-track to assist with diagnosing the problems and finding solutions.
:: Support countries to improve the quality of data and to use data for informing decisions and for improving programme performance.
:: Expand the existing guidance for vaccination in humanitarian emergencies to also include guidance on sustaining routine immunization during periods of conflict and crisis, including outbreaks of disease, such as the current Ebola epidemic in west Africa.

Delegates acknowledged that countries and particularly national governments, play a leading role in making the needed investments in immunization. Governments are accountable for the progress as well as the monitoring of their own immunization programme performance.

The Health Assembly adopted a resolution tabled by Libya that specifically addresses the issue of access to sustainable supplies of affordable vaccines for low and middle income countries, including the promotion of vaccine price transparency, support for pooled procurement mechanisms and for increased capacity for the manufacture of vaccines of assured quality to foster competition for a healthy vaccine market.

Note: List of Member States that made interventions during the GVAP discussion: Libya, Iceland, Panama, Chile, Australia, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Egypt, Republic of Korea, China, Ecuador, Pakistan, Lebanon, Brunei Darussalam, United Sates of America, Russians Federation, United Kingdom, Cape Verde, Thailand, Philippines, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Canada, Colombia, Bangladesh, Maldives, Jamaica, Bahamas, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Malaysia, Argentina, Kuwait, Gabon, India, Venezuela, Latvia, Iraq, Senegal, Algeria, Greece

Note: List of civil society organizations that made interventions during the GVAP discussion: Save the Children, Médecins Sans Frontières, Medicus Mundi, International Pharmaceutical Federation