[Ip-health] MSF intervention at WHO EB: Global immunization vision and strategy
thiru at keionline.org
Tue Jan 18 13:45:42 PST 2011
Global immunization vision and strategy
WHO 128th Executive Board Agenda item 4.6
Intervention by Michelle Childs, Médecins Sans Frontières, delivered on
18th January 2011
Médecins Sans Frontières welcomes the proposed Global Immunization
Vision and Strategy (EB128/9) which rightfully encourages a
rebalancing of the global vaccine strategy, so that support for the
introduction of the newer vaccines does not mean momentum is lost as
regards the need to ensure basic immunization.
New vaccines such as pneumococcal vaccines have the potential to avert
millions of deaths worldwide. At the same time, the need for MSF
medical teams to intervene in several measles outbreak responses
illustrates the weak coverage of traditional vaccines, and is a clear
indication of the failure of routine basic immunization, despite the
global decrease in measles morbidity and mortality.
Every day immunisation opportunities are missed, when young children
accessing healthcare are not offered catch-up vaccinations. National
immunisation programmes should be supported to leverage every
interaction with young children to provide ‘catch-up’ vaccinations.
financial incentives reward countries for vaccinating children under
one but not for vaccinating children above one year. The target of
vaccinating children by the age of one should be an aspiration, and
not a cut-off point.
Funding for routine measles vaccinations and catch-up campaigns has
gradually diminished in recent years because of decreased political
will and priority setting. The Measles Initiative faces a critical
funding gap and some countries are not in a position to raise the 50%
costs asked of them to support supplementary vaccination activities.
Simultaneously, implementing countries must continually be encouraged
to increase their contribution to vaccination purchase and programmes.
To maximize the potential of vaccination, technologies better adapted
to the realities of resource-limited settings need to be developed.
The arrival of a low-cost meningitis A vaccine last year shows the
promise of tailoring vaccine development to the needs to developing
countries. The development of a more practical one-dose cholera
vaccine, for use in
outbreaks such as in Haiti, is one of the key research and development
The report from the Secretariat rightly underlines the fact that
vaccine “prices continue to be a major obstacle”. The current funding
crisis at the GAVI Alliance is partly due to prices that are too high.
Too much emphasis has been put on incentivising multinational
pharmaceutical companies, at the expense of investing in support to
emerging producers that can produce
quality vaccines at dramatically reduced prices.
The report lacks strategies and concrete actions to bring vaccine
prices down. It must include measures that stimulate competition as
powerful way to reduce prices and should support increased price
transparency. Competition can be achieved by supporting technology
transfer, development support to emerging country vaccine makers and
property barriers where they exist. The meningitis A vaccine,
developed with the critical participation of Southern producers and
scientists, shows the efficiency of a model that delinks the cost of
research from the price of a product, and provides a telling example
of how different groups can work together from the outset to ensure a
new product is affordable.
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org
Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997
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