WHA Resolution – Global vaccine action plan A68/73 26 May 2015

World Health Assembly addresses antimicrobial resistance, immunization gaps and malnutrition
25 May 2015
News release
Excerpt
…Immunization
The Assembly agreed a resolution to improve access to sustainable supplies of affordable vaccines – a key issue for low- and middle-income countries aiming to extend immunization to the entire population. In 2012, the Assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan, a commitment to ensure that no one misses out on vital immunization by 2020. A report from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization, warns, however, that progress towards the Action Plan’s targets is slow and patchy.

The resolution calls on WHO to coordinate efforts to address gaps in progress. It urges Member States to increase transparency around vaccine pricing and explore pooling the procurement of vaccines. It requests the WHO Secretariat to report on barriers that may undermine robust competition that can enable price reductions for new vaccines, and to address any other factors that might adversely affect the availability of vaccines. The resolution also highlighted that immunization is a highly cost-effective public health interventions, playing a major role in reducing child deaths and improving health. It recommends scaling up advocacy efforts to improve understanding of the value of vaccines and to allay fears leading to vaccine hesitancy.

Last week, on the margins of the Health Assembly, the Secretariat brought together high-level representatives of 34 countries with low immunization coverage to discuss challenges and explore solutions to overcome them…

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WHA Resolution – Global vaccine action plan   A68/73 26 May 2015
The Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly,
Having considered the report on the global vaccine action plan A68/30;

Emphasizing the importance of immunization as one of the most effective interventions in public health and access to immunization as a key step towards access to health and universal health coverage;

Acknowledging the progress made in global immunization and the commitment under the 2011–2020 Decade of Vaccines to achieve immunization goals and milestones;

Recalling resolutions WHA58.15 and WHA61.15 on the global immunization strategy, resolution WHA65.17 on the global vaccine action plan, resolution WHA61.21 on the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, resolution WHA54.11 on the WHO medicines strategy and resolution WHA67.20 on regulatory system strengthening for medical products;

Noting with concern that globally immunization coverage has increased only marginally since the late 2000s; and that in 2013 more than 21 million children under one year of age did not complete the three-dose series of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine;

Recognizing that the availability of new vaccines against important causes of vaccine preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and cervical cancer can prevent leading causes of childhood and women’s death;

Acknowledging that successful national immunization programmes require sustainable political and financial support of Member States;

Appreciating the contributions of WHO, UNICEF, the Gavi Alliance, and all partners in their efforts to support the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries and strengthen immunization services;

Concerned that inequities between Member States are growing, inter alia, due to the increased financial burden of new vaccines and based upon those that are eligible or ineligible for financial and technical support from global partners;

Concerned that many low- and middle-income countries may not have the opportunity to access newer and improved vaccines, particularly because of the costs related to the procurement and introduction of these vaccines; and concerned at the increase of costs of overall immunization programmes because of increase in price of the WHO-recommended vaccines;

Recognizing that publicly available data on vaccine prices are scarce, and that the availability of price information is important for facilitating Member States’ efforts towards introduction of new vaccines;

Recalling many Member States’ interventions on the Health Assembly’s immunization agenda item each year, expressing concern over the unaffordable cost of new vaccines and appealing to the global community to support strategies that will reduce prices;

Recalling the WHO global framework for expanding access to essential drugs, and its four components: the rational selection and use of medicines, reliable health and supply systems, sustainable financing, and affordable prices;

Taking into account the importance of competition to reduce prices and the need to expand the number of manufacturers, particularly in developing countries, that can produce WHO-prequalified vaccines and create a competitive market;

Stressing the critical life-saving role of vaccines and immunization programmes and striving to make immunization available to all;

Noting with concern the global shortage of certain traditional routine vaccines, for example BCG vaccine and combined measles-rubella vaccine;

Acknowledging that shortages of vaccines are quite often an important cause of disruption of vaccination schedules and that therefore the establishment of effective and sustainable vaccine production, supply, procurement and delivery systems is essential to ensure access to all the necessary vaccines of assured quality at the right time;

Concerned that scepticism against vaccination is continuing to grow in society despite the proven efficacy and safety of modern vaccines, and that many children do not receive life-saving vaccines as a result of insufficient information to parents or health care workers or even of active anti-vaccination propaganda,

1. URGES Member States [And, where applicable, regional economic integration organizations]
(1) to allocate adequate financial and human resources for the introduction of vaccines into national immunization schedules and for sustaining strong immunization programmes in accordance with national priorities;

(2) to strengthen efforts, as and where appropriate, for pooling vaccine procurement volumes in regional and interregional or other groupings, as appropriate, that will increase affordability by leveraging economies of scale;

(3) to provide, where possible and available, timely vaccine price data to WHO for publication, with the goal of increasing affordability through improved price transparency, particularly for the new vaccines;

(4) to seek opportunities for establishing national and regional vaccine manufacturing capacity, in accordance with national priorities, that can produce to national regulatory standards, including WHO-prequalification;

(5) to create mechanisms to increase the availability of comparable information on government funding for vaccine development and work towards strategies that enhance public health benefit from government investments in vaccine development;

(6) to support the ongoing efforts of various partners coordinated by WHO to design and implement the strategies to address the vaccine and immunization gaps faced by the low- and middle-income countries that request assistance;

(7) to improve and sustain vaccine purchasing and delivery systems in order to promote the uninterrupted and affordable safe supply of all the necessary vaccines and their availability to all immunization service providers;

(8) to strengthen immunization advocacy and provide training to health professionals and information to the public regarding immunization issues to achieve a clear understanding of the benefits and risks of immunization;

2. REQUESTS the Director-General:
(1) to explore ways to mobilize funding to fully support collaborative efforts with international partners, donors, and vaccine manufacturers to support low- and middle-income countries in accessing affordable vaccines of assured quality in adequate supply;

(2) to continue developing and adequately managing publicly available vaccine price databases, like the WHO Vaccine Product, Price and Procurement project, working with Member States to increase availability of price information;

(3) to monitor vaccine prices through annual reporting of the global vaccine action plan;

(4) to provide technical support and facilitate financial resources for establishing pooled procurement mechanisms, where appropriate, for use by Member States;

(5) to strengthen the WHO prequalification programme and provide technical assistance to support developing countries in capacity building for research and development, technology transfer, and other upstream to downstream vaccine development and manufacturing strategies that foster proper competition for a healthy vaccine market;

(6) to report upon technical, procedural and legal barriers that may undermine robust competition that can enable price reductions for new vaccines, and address other factors that can adversely affect the availability of vaccines;

(7) to assist in mobilizing resources for countries that request assistance in the introduction of new vaccines in line with the global vaccine action plan and in accordance with national priorities;

(8) to continue to assist Member States to improve and sustain their vaccine delivery systems and to continue to provide technical support to Member States to strengthen the knowledge and skills of their health care professionals in vaccination programmes;

(9) to report back on progress in implementing this resolution to the Health Assembly through the Executive Board in the annual report on the global vaccine action plan.