Equitable access to influenza vaccines
Publisher/Organizer: Pan American Health Organization
Publication date: 3 MAY 2009
Washington, D.C., 3 MAY, 2009 (PAHO/WHO) – Guaranteeing access for developing countries to vaccines, including a possible vaccine for the new A/H1N1 influenza virus, is a major concern of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), a PAHO vaccine expert said during a media briefing today.
“Equitable distribution of vaccine to developing countries is an absolute top priority for PAHO,” said Dr. Jon K. Andrus, PAHO’s lead senior technical advisor in immunizations. “As it stands, several manufacturers have preproduction contracts with some countries, which could impose some barriers to vaccine access for the poorest of the poor. We need to keep advocacy and dialogue going to prevent a humanitarian crisis in case of possible vaccine shortages, particularly if this current outbreak were to become more severe.”
“When you work in disease eradication, every day is an emergency,” said Andrus. “Every day that passes means more children are being paralyzed. This is unacceptable, so every day has to be an emergency if the job is going to get done. In the Americas, countries have been highly successful with achieving these disease elimination efforts.”