2nd Global meeting on implementing new and under-utilized vaccines
Participants at the meeting recognized the tremendous progress made in the area of new vaccine introduction in recent years. To give just two examples: according to provisional estimates, 171 (or 89%) of WHO's 193 (89%) Member States were using hepatitis B vaccine and 116 (or 60%) were using Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine by the end of 2007 in their routine infant immunization schedules.
While more new vaccines are becoming available, and demand from developing countries increases, products designed for industrialized markets are being found to be less appropriate for developing country situations. In order to facilitate their use in such countries, developing country immunization systems will have to be strengthened in the following areas:
- information on the benefits of the vaccines and their delivery will need to be managed and shared using the latest information management techniques to ensure that the public and health workers at all levels are fully informed;
- vaccine management systems will need to be adapted in view of the increase in the number of vaccines available and the increased storage volumes required by newer vaccines;
- vaccine wastage rates will need to be reduced to a minimum given the higher price of new vaccines;
- countries, including the lowest income countries, will have to take increasing financial responsibility for the vaccines that they introduce in the coming years; solutions will need to be found to ensure that use of the vaccines introduced with support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) can be sustained;
- capacity for post-marketing surveillance will need to increase to adequately monitor vaccine safety; and
- further integration of surveillance systems for different diseases will be needed to help countries decide on the most appropriate vaccines.
Overall, forward thinking and a certain flexibility of approaches will be essential to future progress.