World Health Assembly

Milestones :: Perspectives


World Health Assembly
22–31 May 2017, Geneva

World Health Assembly endorsed resolution to strengthen immunization
29 May 2017
:: Resolution full text:
Strengthening immunization to achieve the goals of the global vaccine action plan resolution
:: Report by the Secretariat on GVAP [WHA]

29 May 2017, GENEVA – Ministers of Health from 194 countries at the 70th World Health Assembly endorsed a resolution on strengthening immunization to achieve the goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). In 2012, the Health Assembly endorsed GVAP, a commitment to ensure that no one misses out on vital immunization by 2020. To date, progress towards the GVAP targets is off track. In 2015, more than 19 million children missed out the basic immunization and overall global immunization coverage has stagnated.

The resolution urges Member States to strengthen the governance and leadership of national immunization programmes, and improve monitoring and surveillance systems to ensure up-to-date data guides policy and programmatic decisions to optimize performance and impact. It also calls on countries to expand immunization services beyond infancy, mobilize domestic financing, and strengthen international cooperation to achieve GVAP goals.

It requests the WHO Secretariat to continue supporting countries to achieve regional and global vaccination goals. It recommends scaling up advocacy efforts to improve understanding of the value of vaccines and urgency of meeting the GVAP goals. The Secretariat will report back in 2020 and 2022 on the achievements against the 2020 GVAP goals and targets.

60 speakers including 51 delegates from Member States[i] and 9 non-state actors[ii] took the floor during the GVAP session. The delegates commended the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization for their recommendations that contributed to the Secretariat’s report on progress towards the GVAP goals.

Delegates also acknowledged WHO’s fundamental role in facilitating the GVAP implementation, stressing that WHO should continue to play an important and leading role in:
:: Polio end game and effectively manage the critical transition period including the transfer of tangible polio assets to routine immunization programmes and sustaining the immunization gains achieved through the support from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the GAVI Alliance;
: Supporting middle-income countries to access affordable vaccines of assured quality in adequate supply and mobilizing resources for countries facing transition from Gavi support to ensure sustainability of their immunization programmes;
:: Addressing vaccine resistance and provision of tailored evidence-based strategies and tools to address the root causes of vaccine hesitancy to sustain immunization programmes around the world and prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases;
:: Supporting countries to make evidence-based decisions on new vaccines introductions which is critical to ensure the efficient use of resources, sustainability and affordability of immunization programmes with high impact vaccines;
: Supporting developing countries’ capacity to develop and produce vaccines to achieve affordable pricing;
:: Inclusion of an immunization indicator aligned with GVAP targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s);
:: Support countries in reporting sub-national coverage data to identify and address the pockets of unvaccinated and under vaccinated populations.

A technical briefing on immunization – Reaching Everyone, Everywhere with Life-Saving Vaccines – was held on 24 May. The briefing provided an opportunity for delegates to share experiences to better understand some of the challenges and bottlenecks to achieving the GVAP goals, learn lessons from the successes seen in some regions and countries and see how we can build on these successes to get back on track.

Note: List of WHO Member States and non-state actors that made interventions
i Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Australia, Bahrain, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Bolivia (Plurinational States of), Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Turkey, United States of America, United Republic of Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
ii The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Global Health Council, Knowledge Ecology International, International Counsel of Nurses, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children, World Medical Association.