Photo: Mothers await vaccinations for their children at the Bumpe Government Clinic in Bo District. Sierra Leone 2012 © Lynsey Addario/VII
“Decade of Vaccines” Blueprint Ignores High Prices, Lacks Ambition on Better-Adapted Vaccines to Help Reach More Children
Governments meeting at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board this week must seize the opportunity to improve serious shortcomings in the document that will drive the global community’s vaccines response for the next decade. If they fail to do so, some of the key reasons for why millions of children continue to die of vaccine preventable causes will be left unaddressed.
Countries will decide how to assess the success and steer the activities of the “Global Vaccine Action Plan,” a $50-billion vaccine initiative for the developing world. Although the high price of some vaccines threatens many countries’ abilities to sustain its vaccine programs, the Vaccine Action Plan so far does not include any measures to monitor or control prices.
“The cost of vaccinating a child has risen by 2,700 percent over the last decade, so it is puzzling that the vaccines blueprint for the next decade does not have a goal to bring prices down,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, executive director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Governments in countries where we work are increasingly worried about how they will foot the bill for vaccines when donor support tapers off.”