Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Immunization highlights: 2010

Advocating for immunization

Global health leaders launch Decade of Vaccines collaboration

A collaboration to increase coordination across the international vaccine community and develop a Global Vaccine Action Plan was announced in 2010 by WHO together with UNICEF, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The collaboration follows the call by Bill and Melinda Gates for the next ten years to be the Decade of Vaccines and their pledge of US$ 10 billion to accelerate global vaccine efforts.

"The Gates Foundation’s commitment to vaccines is unprecedented, but needs to be matched by unprecedented action. It’s absolutely crucial that both governments and the private sector step up efforts to provide life-saving vaccines to children who need them most." Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, January 2010

The Global Vaccine Action Plan will provide the vision and framework for the next 10 years to achieve immunization goals and reach important milestones in the delivery, research and development, financing, and public support and demand for vaccine and immunization. It will also facilitate greater coordination between national governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector and philanthropic organizations and identify critical policy, resource, and other gaps that must be addressed to realize the life-saving potential of vaccines.

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Over 100 countries participate in immunization week

For one week in April, 112 countries in the WHO regions of the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean and Europe united under the umbrella of immunization week and implemented activities aimed at raising awareness, and engaging key audiences on the importance of immunization. Activities included:

  • dissemination of information on immunization;
  • training sessions and workshops;
  • exhibitions;
  • press conferences; and
  • round-table discussions with political decision-makers addressing a wide range of vaccine-related issues.

Large-scale vaccination campaigns, the tracking of unvaccinated people, and the delivery of an integrated package of life-saving health interventions also took place. The collaborative effort between the three regions in hosting simultaneous immunization weeks is building public and professional awareness of the value of immunization as well as saving lives. Two other regions ― Africa and the Western Pacific ― will be participating in the 2011 immunization week.

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World Health Assembly decision on viral hepatitis

WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, listens to delegates at the World Health Assembly
WHO/C. Vincensini
A resolution on viral hepatitis was passed at the 2010 World Health Assembly

The World Health Assembly, which brings together health ministers and senior health officials from WHO Member States to discuss a variety of global health issues, endorsed a resolution on viral hepatitis.

The Health Assembly has established a robust framework to deliver improvements in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and awareness. The resolution clearly states the need for global coordinated action to tackle viral hepatitis, backed by dedicated resources. It also provides global endorsement of World Hepatitis Day on 28 July as the primary focus for national and international awareness-raising efforts.

Viral hepatitis ― which includes hepatitis A, B, C, D and E ― is a combination of diseases estimated to kill over 1 million people each year. About 1 in 12 persons are currently infected and have to face a life with liver disease, if unrecognized.

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Family and community health: contributing to the Millennium Development Goals

A delegate visits the Family and Community Health information stand
Our information stand at the 2010 World Health Assembly highlighted our work in support of the MDGs

The contribution of WHO's work in family and community health to MDGs 3 (to promote gender equality and empower women), 4 (to reduce child mortality), 5 (to improve maternal health), and 6 (to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) was featured at the exhibit of the Family and Community Health Cluster at the 2010 World Health Assembly.

The role of vaccines and immunization in achieving these goals was highlighted in documentation available to visitors to the stand.

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