Vaccination in humanitarian emergencies

Milestones :: Perspectives

Vaccination in humanitarian emergencies

Humanitarian emergencies, regardless of type and cause, have a number of common risk factors for communicable diseases inextricably linked to excess risk of morbidity and mortality which can come from vaccine–preventable diseases.

Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks occurring in humanitarian emergencies highlighted the need for a comprehensive and evidence-based decision-making framework for vaccination in humanitarian emergencies. In 2013, “Vaccination in acute humanitarian emergencies: a framework for decision making” was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The ultimate aim of the framework is to assist the user to thoughtfully, deliberately, ethically, and rationally determine whether or not the delivery of one or more vaccines to specific target populations during the acute phase of an emergency would result in an overall saving of lives, a reduction in the population burden of disease, and generally more favourable outcomes than would otherwise be the case.

Revised and extended guidance/content
Through a series of consultations with partners in 2016 the revised and extended guidance is now available:
:: Vaccination in acute humanitarian emergencies: a framework for decision making
:: Vaccination in humanitarian emergencies implementation guide
:: Country case studies pdf, 240kb

An eTool based on the framework for decision making has been developed. The intended audience for the eTool includes UNICEF and WHO staff, government and partner agencies who are expected to work together to reach a decision regarding the need and strategies of implementing one or more vaccines in a given humanitarian emergency.
:: Download Mac version  zip, 69.27Mb
:: Download Windows version  zip, 67.03Mb
:: Instructions on installing the tool  pdf, 321kb

eLearning course
An eLearning course has been developed in collaboration with UNICEF, it is intended to provide a methodology and tools to immunization programme managers for vaccination during humanitarian emergencies. It takes 2 – 2.5 hours to complete this course. A certificate is available following the successful completion of all five modules.
:: UNICEF site for eLearning

Humanitarian Mechanism
A “Humanitarian Mechanism” has been developed by WHO, UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Save the Children to enable civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies to quickly procure affordable vaccine supplies on behalf of populations facing humanitarian emergencies and who do not have such access. The mechanism is available for use as of 1 May 2017.
:: Accessing Affordable and Timely Supply of Vaccines for use in Humanitarian Emergencies: the Humanitarian Mechanism pdf, 126kb