Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Measles efforts to focus on strengthening routine immunization

WHO/A. Brunier

WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) recommended at its November 2010 meeting that global measles mortality reduction and regional elimination efforts be carried out in the context of strengthening routine immunization programmes. SAGE concluded that measles can and should be eradicated but proposed that demonstration of sufficient progress towards regional measles elimination targets be made a precursor to establishing a target date for global eradication. Recognizing the fragility of gains in measles mortality reduction, apparent through outbreaks affecting 28 countries in the African Region since 2009, the Group highlighted the growing risk that the contribution of the reduction in measles mortality to achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 will be lost because of declining political and financial commitment to measles control.

Other topics discussed included: polio eradication; support to lower-middle-income countries; improving the accessibility of affordable vaccines; influenza and typhoid vaccination; optimization of immunization schedules; and epidemiology studies of unimmunized children and gender-related issues.