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Progress on vaccine plan has been patchy, experts warn

The 68th World Health Assembly (18–26 May), has resolved to improve access to sustainable supplies of affordable vaccines — a key issue for low- and middle-income countries.

In 2012, the assembly endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan, a commitment to ensure that no one misses out on vital immunisation by 2020. A report from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization warns, however, that progress towards the action plan’s targets has been slow and patchy.

The resolution calls on the WHO to coordinate efforts to address gaps in progress. It urges member states to increase transparency around vaccine pricing and explore pooling the procurement of vaccines. It requests the WHO Secretariat to report on barriers that may undermine robust competition that can enable price reductions for new vaccines, and to address any other factors that might adversely affect the availability of vaccines. The resolution also highlighted that immunisation is a highly cost-effective public health intervention, playing a major role in reducing child deaths and improving health. It recommends scaling up advocacy efforts to improve understanding of the value of vaccines and to allay fears leading to vaccine hesitancy.

Read the statement that FIP made on behalf of pharmacists on the Global Vaccine Action Plan at the World Health Assembly here. We emphasised that opportunities to vaccinate are being missed and outlined the growing evidence that vaccination by pharmacists is among the solutions.