When introducing a new vaccine, countries are faced with many programmatic and vaccine management issues, including: the capacity of the cold chain to accommodate additional volumes; ability of managers to assess vaccine needs accurately, plan for timely replenishment of vaccine stocks, and carefully monitor vaccine wastage; and the revision of records and reporting tools to accommodate the new antigens.
To ensure equitable access to vaccines in all populations, WHO and partners provide technical expertise to countries to strengthen existing and develop new delivery systems by providing assistance on vaccine management, perform effective vaccine management assessments in preparation of new vaccine applications, support cold chain and logistics upgrades related to new vaccines, as well as improved vaccine data usage and wastage data flow. In addition, partners support operational research for new immunization implementation and delivery strategies.
The introduction of new vaccines may require an expansion of the health workforce and, should the presentation and administration of the vaccine be novel, provision of appropriate training. Therefore, immunization partners aim to provide technical support to countries to facilitate human resource development and incentives for staff retention and to develop guidelines and training materials related to immunization service delivery and supervision for new vaccines.
Communication strategies contribute to a variety of important goals in the context of new vaccine introduction. One of the most important strategies is to mobilize and engage communities not only to accept, but to demand, the new vaccines for their well-being. With any new intervention, there are risks around actual or perceived harm that may arise. Communication to deal with rumours, allegations and coincidental adverse events following immunization are an essential part of a programme's efforts.
Last updated: August 2010