Report of SAGE November 2011 meeting published
9 January 2012 - WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization recommended, at its November 2011 meeting, that to eradicate polio there must be accountability and consequences at all levels for individuals, institutions and governments who fail to deliver on their mandates. SAGE stated unequivocally that the risk of failure to finish global polio eradication constitutes a programmatic emergency of global proportions for public health and is not acceptable under any circumstances. Moreover, the country reports produced by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative Independent Monitoring Board must identify the root causes why some infected countries are failing to interrupt transmission and hold appropriate individuals, agencies and authorities responsible. Failure, SAGE warned, would lead to a resurgence of the disease and would be seen as the most expensive public health failure in history.
SAGE welcomed the Decade of Vaccines collaboration as a new initiative to create a global coalition to fully realize the potential of immunization in saving lives. SAGE reviewed the draft Decade of Vaccines global action plan and although the expert group supported the overall direction, it was agreed that the plan needed to be more exciting and innovative, extending the benefits of immunization beyond childhood. SAGE requested the planning teams to identify a few major "game-changers" which if implemented would have a significant impact.
Other topics were also discussed during the meeting such as: the negotiations around the legally binding instrument on mercury and thiomersal containing vaccines; monitoring national immunization coverage and reinforcing surveillance; optimizing immunization schedules for conjugate pneumococcal vaccines; use of hepatitis A vaccines; and progress of tuberculosis vaccine candidate trials.