Posts tagged vaccine

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign
The ‘Decade of Vaccines,’ the global vaccination initiative for the next ten years, is estimated to cost US$57 billion, with more than half going to pay for the vaccines themselves. In 2001, it cost $1.37 to fully vaccinate a child against six diseases. While 11 vaccines are included in today’s vaccines package, the total price has risen to $38.80, largely because two expensive new vaccines – against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus – have been added, which make up three-quarters of that cost. They are only produced by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Merck. Newer vaccines are significantly more expensive: vaccinating a child against measles costs $0.25, while protecting a child against pneumococcal diseases costs, at best, $21.
Help MSF and send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.
CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign

The ‘Decade of Vaccines,’ the global vaccination initiative for the next ten years, is estimated to cost US$57 billion, with more than half going to pay for the vaccines themselves. In 2001, it cost $1.37 to fully vaccinate a child against six diseases. While 11 vaccines are included in today’s vaccines package, the total price has risen to $38.80, largely because two expensive new vaccines – against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus – have been added, which make up three-quarters of that cost. They are only produced by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Merck. Newer vaccines are significantly more expensive: vaccinating a child against measles costs $0.25, while protecting a child against pneumococcal diseases costs, at best, $21.

Help MSF and send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign
MSF vaccinates millions of people each year and fully supports the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries. But negotiations between companies and the largely taxpayer-funded GAVI Alliance for the newest vaccines have not resulted in deeper price cuts that would help more children benefit. The lack of transparency by companies on vaccine manufacturing costs and their focus on profits above ensuring sustainable prices for vaccines for low-income countries are at the root of the problem.
Help MSF and send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.
CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign

MSF vaccinates millions of people each year and fully supports the introduction of new vaccines in developing countries. But negotiations between companies and the largely taxpayer-funded GAVI Alliance for the newest vaccines have not resulted in deeper price cuts that would help more children benefit. The lack of transparency by companies on vaccine manufacturing costs and their focus on profits above ensuring sustainable prices for vaccines for low-income countries are at the root of the problem.

Help MSF and send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign
“Urgent action is needed to address the skyrocketing price to vaccinate a child, which has risen by 2,700 percent over the last decade,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Countries where we work will lose their donor support to pay for vaccines soon, and will have to decide which killer diseases they can and can’t afford to protect their children against.”
Help MSF, send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.
CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

MSF Access: Dear GAVI Campaign

“Urgent action is needed to address the skyrocketing price to vaccinate a child, which has risen by 2,700 percent over the last decade,” said Dr. Manica Balasegaram, Executive Director of MSF’s Access Campaign. “Countries where we work will lose their donor support to pay for vaccines soon, and will have to decide which killer diseases they can and can’t afford to protect their children against.”

Help MSF, send GAVI a message on Twitter asking for them to open up their lower prices to non-governmental organisations and humanitarian actors like MSF now.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A TWEET.

Photo: MSF and Pakistani staff examine a patient in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital, where MSF is treating patients for measles-related complications. Pakistan 2011 © P.K. Lee/MSF
MSF Responds To Increase In Measles in Southwestern Pakistan
Cases of measles are on the rise in the eastern region of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. An MSF medical team in Dera Murad Jamali has treated 159 patients since late December 2012, and two measles-related deaths have occurred in health facilities supported by MSF in the province’s Jaffarabad and Nasirabad districts.To cope with the increasing number of patients, an eight-bed isolation unit has been set up in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital to treat patients with complications. Some 35 complicated cases have been treated over the past two weeks. Treatment kits have been distributed to locations where MSF runs mobile clinics, including Mir Hassan, Usta Mohammad, Dera Allah Yar, and Sobhat Pur.
“Our mobile medical teams are reaching out to communities to identify patients with measles symptoms in the catchment area of our supported health facilities,” says Dr. Muhammad Shoaib, MSF’s medical coordinator in Pakistan. “Patients are then referred for treatment aimed at preventing complications such as respiratory infections.”There has been an increase in the number of recorded measles cases across Pakistan over the past two months. “Measles is an extremely contagious illness,” says Dr. Shoaib. “If not treated in time, it may result in serious medical complications and even death, especially amongst malnourished patients. In eastern Balochistan, where malnutrition rates are relatively high, the chance of complications is high.”

Photo: MSF and Pakistani staff examine a patient in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital, where MSF is treating patients for measles-related complications. Pakistan 2011 © P.K. Lee/MSF

MSF Responds To Increase In Measles in Southwestern Pakistan

Cases of measles are on the rise in the eastern region of Pakistan’s Balochistan Province. An MSF medical team in Dera Murad Jamali has treated 159 patients since late December 2012, and two measles-related deaths have occurred in health facilities supported by MSF in the province’s Jaffarabad and Nasirabad districts.

To cope with the increasing number of patients, an eight-bed isolation unit has been set up in Dera Murad Jamali Hospital to treat patients with complications. Some 35 complicated cases have been treated over the past two weeks. Treatment kits have been distributed to locations where MSF runs mobile clinics, including Mir Hassan, Usta Mohammad, Dera Allah Yar, and Sobhat Pur.

“Our mobile medical teams are reaching out to communities to identify patients with measles symptoms in the catchment area of our supported health facilities,” says Dr. Muhammad Shoaib, MSF’s medical coordinator in Pakistan. “Patients are then referred for treatment aimed at preventing complications such as respiratory infections.”

There has been an increase in the number of recorded measles cases across Pakistan over the past two months. “Measles is an extremely contagious illness,” says Dr. Shoaib. “If not treated in time, it may result in serious medical complications and even death, especially amongst malnourished patients. In eastern Balochistan, where malnutrition rates are relatively high, the chance of complications is high.”

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.”

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.”

Photo: The inpatient therapeutic feeding center in the Dera Murad Jamali District Headquarters Hospital in eastern Balochistan Pakistan 2011 © P.K. Lee/MSF
MSF Condemns Targeting of Health Workers in Pakistan
Regardless of the parties or individuals responsible for the recent escalation of attacks against health workers in Pakistan, both patients and medical workers risk losing their lives while seeking or providing health care.
As a medical humanitarian organization working in Pakistan since 1986, and currently operating activities throughout the country, MSF condemns the attacks on medical workers and strongly reiterates the need to fully respect the medical mission by ensuring the safety and security of patients, medical staff, and health facilities.
“A hospital or a vaccination site needs to be a safe location where medics can perform their duty, and patients can receive the urgent assistance they need,” said Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF general director. “We call on all actors to restore the respect for the medical act.”
Acceptance from all communities and political and military groups is the only way medical actors, including MSF, can work in Pakistan. This acceptance is based on the fact that medical activities have a singular objective: the provision of impartial medical care to anyone in need, and based on need alone.
Already fragile perception and acceptance of vaccination in Pakistan was further undermined last year by the alleged misuse of vaccinations by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, in its attempt to gather intelligence leading to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
MSF does not carry out mass vaccination campaigns in the country, despite the significant need for them.
“The reality is that in our facilities, we are treating people suffering from preventable conditions,” said Hehenkamp. “Part of the solution is to conduct mass vaccinations, but we simply cannot consider it within this climate of rumors and suspicion, which is deadly for both patients and health workers.”
Since 1986, MSF has been working in Pakistan with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who are survivors of armed conflict and natural disasters, or who lack access to medical care. MSF teams provide free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh provinces.

Photo: The inpatient therapeutic feeding center in the Dera Murad Jamali District Headquarters Hospital in eastern Balochistan Pakistan 2011 © P.K. Lee/MSF

MSF Condemns Targeting of Health Workers in Pakistan

Regardless of the parties or individuals responsible for the recent escalation of attacks against health workers in Pakistan, both patients and medical workers risk losing their lives while seeking or providing health care.

As a medical humanitarian organization working in Pakistan since 1986, and currently operating activities throughout the country, MSF condemns the attacks on medical workers and strongly reiterates the need to fully respect the medical mission by ensuring the safety and security of patients, medical staff, and health facilities.

“A hospital or a vaccination site needs to be a safe location where medics can perform their duty, and patients can receive the urgent assistance they need,” said Arjan Hehenkamp, MSF general director. “We call on all actors to restore the respect for the medical act.”

Acceptance from all communities and political and military groups is the only way medical actors, including MSF, can work in Pakistan. This acceptance is based on the fact that medical activities have a singular objective: the provision of impartial medical care to anyone in need, and based on need alone.

Already fragile perception and acceptance of vaccination in Pakistan was further undermined last year by the alleged misuse of vaccinations by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, in its attempt to gather intelligence leading to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

MSF does not carry out mass vaccination campaigns in the country, despite the significant need for them.

“The reality is that in our facilities, we are treating people suffering from preventable conditions,” said Hehenkamp. “Part of the solution is to conduct mass vaccinations, but we simply cannot consider it within this climate of rumors and suspicion, which is deadly for both patients and health workers.”

Since 1986, MSF has been working in Pakistan with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who are survivors of armed conflict and natural disasters, or who lack access to medical care. MSF teams provide free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Sindh provinces.

Photo: Patients in the waiting area at Koutiala Hospital in Mali. Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden
Conference Briefing Paper: Medical Innovations for Neglected PatientsThere are three fundamental problems with medical innovation today. 
First, global public health needs are not in the driving seat. Regardless of how great the needs may be, where commercial potential is weak, there is little “pull” to develop new technologies. The innovation cycle is broken, with few or no incentives for the development of effective, safe, quality, suitable and affordable health technologies—leading to needless suffering and death. 
Second, as a result, developing countries must often “make do” with innovation that primarily caters to conditions in developed countries. Medical tools are too often developed first for developed countries and only rolled out in resource limited settings in a second stage. 
Third, even when there is enough of a profit incentive to drive innovation—for example when diseases affect both developed and developing countries alike—the resulting products are too often priced out of reach. 
Medical innovation must aim to change practice, for the benefit of patients. But ideas, knowledge and inventions can only benefit patients who have access to the fruits of innovation. What is needed, therefore, is not just innovation—but both innovation and access.
Download the full report here.

Photo: Patients in the waiting area at Koutiala Hospital in Mali. Mali 2012 © Venetia Dearden

Conference Briefing Paper: Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients
There are three fundamental problems with medical innovation today. 

First, global public health needs are not in the driving seat. Regardless of how great the needs may be, where commercial potential is weak, there is little “pull” to develop new technologies. The innovation cycle is broken, with few or no incentives for the development of effective, safe, quality, suitable and affordable health technologies—leading to needless suffering and death. 

Second, as a result, developing countries must often “make do” with innovation that primarily caters to conditions in developed countries. Medical tools are too often developed first for developed countries and only rolled out in resource limited settings in a second stage. 

Third, even when there is enough of a profit incentive to drive innovation—for example when diseases affect both developed and developing countries alike—the resulting products are too often priced out of reach. 

Medical innovation must aim to change practice, for the benefit of patients. But ideas, knowledge and inventions can only benefit patients who have access to the fruits of innovation. What is needed, therefore, is not just innovation—but both innovation and access.

Download the full report here.

Easier-to-Use Vaccines Are Needed for Hard-to-Reach Children
"Unless vaccines are simplified so that they’re better adapted to real-life conditions, we will never get on top of these killer diseases and will always need to respond to outbreaks that we haven’t managed to prevent through effective immunization programs."—Florence Fermon, MSF Vaccines Adviser
Immunization is one of the most effective ways of saving young lives, yet every year one in five children born—22 million—is left without this basic protection from disease. Why?
It’s because existing vaccines are hard to use in the places where many of these children live. The problem with the vaccines currently available—both basic and newer vaccines—is that they have been developed for use in wealthy countries, with strong health systems, good transport and other functioning infrastructure. In trying to use these vaccines in countries which don’t have the advantages of good roads, reliable power supplies, and adequate numbers of trained staff, it becomes clear why so many children in developing countries fall through the immunization net.

Easier-to-Use Vaccines Are Needed for Hard-to-Reach Children

"Unless vaccines are simplified so that they’re better adapted to real-life conditions, we will never get on top of these killer diseases and will always need to respond to outbreaks that we haven’t managed to prevent through effective immunization programs."—Florence Fermon, MSF Vaccines Adviser

Immunization is one of the most effective ways of saving young lives, yet every year one in five children born—22 million—is left without this basic protection from disease. Why?

It’s because existing vaccines are hard to use in the places where many of these children live. The problem with the vaccines currently available—both basic and newer vaccines—is that they have been developed for use in wealthy countries, with strong health systems, good transport and other functioning infrastructure. In trying to use these vaccines in countries which don’t have the advantages of good roads, reliable power supplies, and adequate numbers of trained staff, it becomes clear why so many children in developing countries fall through the immunization net.

Photo: An MSF staff member vaccinates a child for measles. DRC 2008 © Anna Surinyach

MSF at the GAVI Alliance “Partners’ Forum” Vaccination Conference, Tanzania, December 5–7, 2012
MSF is deeply concerned that the current global vaccination strategy is not paying enough attention to reaching the one in five babies born each year that continue to go without the very basic vaccination package. MSF sees the direct effect of the failures in basic vaccination when massive outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases emerge in places where we work. In 2010 in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, MSF vaccinated more than four million people for measles in response to outbreaks that would not be happening if routine immunization were working well. The global number of babies not fully vaccinated rose from 19 million in 2010 to 22.4 million in 2012—there’s an urgent need to address this situation.
The approach being taken in the vaccines blueprint being launched for the next ten years—the “Global Vaccine Action Plan” and “Decade of Vaccines”—does not adequately emphasize the need to strengthen basic immunization. Developing vaccines that are better adapted to reach children in remote or unstable locations—vaccines that do not require refrigeration, do not require needles, and that can be given in fewer doses—is not being prioritized enough. Better products are needed to alleviate the growing number of un-immunized children. GAVI should play a role in the development of adapted products, but to date, it has not done so.

Photo: An MSF staff member vaccinates a child for measles. DRC 2008 © Anna Surinyach

MSF at the GAVI Alliance “Partners’ Forum” Vaccination Conference, Tanzania, December 5–7, 2012


MSF is deeply concerned that the current global vaccination strategy is not paying enough attention to reaching the one in five babies born each year that continue to go without the very basic vaccination package. MSF sees the direct effect of the failures in basic vaccination when massive outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases emerge in places where we work. In 2010 in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, MSF vaccinated more than four million people for measles in response to outbreaks that would not be happening if routine immunization were working well. The global number of babies not fully vaccinated rose from 19 million in 2010 to 22.4 million in 2012—there’s an urgent need to address this situation.

The approach being taken in the vaccines blueprint being launched for the next ten years—the “Global Vaccine Action Plan” and “Decade of Vaccines”—does not adequately emphasize the need to strengthen basic immunization. Developing vaccines that are better adapted to reach children in remote or unstable locations—vaccines that do not require refrigeration, do not require needles, and that can be given in fewer doses—is not being prioritized enough. Better products are needed to alleviate the growing number of un-immunized children. GAVI should play a role in the development of adapted products, but to date, it has not done so.

There’s no reason children should still be dying of vaccine-preventable diseases. The global vaccines community could be doing a lot better to make sure all babies in developing countries are fully vaccinated against killer diseases. We need vaccines that are easier to use in hard-to-reach places.
Photo: An MSF staff member vaccinates a child for measles. DRC 2008 © Anna Surinyach
GAVI Needs to Offer Lower Vaccine Prices to Humanitarian Groups
The GAVI Alliance should systematically extend the discounted vaccine prices it obtains from pharmaceutical companies to humanitarian organizations that are often well placed to reach unvaccinated children, MSF said today at the GAVI Partners Forum meeting in Tanzania. Currently, humanitarian groups such as MSF are not able to obtain vaccines at GAVI prices, and are left to negotiate access to vaccines on a cumbersome case-by-case basis.

Photo: An MSF staff member vaccinates a child for measles. DRC 2008 © Anna Surinyach

GAVI Needs to Offer Lower Vaccine Prices to Humanitarian Groups

The GAVI Alliance should systematically extend the discounted vaccine prices it obtains from pharmaceutical companies to humanitarian organizations that are often well placed to reach unvaccinated children, MSF said today at the GAVI Partners Forum meeting in Tanzania. Currently, humanitarian groups such as MSF are not able to obtain vaccines at GAVI prices, and are left to negotiate access to vaccines on a cumbersome case-by-case basis.

The past few weeks in the mountains have been hectic. Due to increased fighting in the region, more and more IDPs [internally displaced people] have been coming into the areas we work in. Due to increased overcrowding and a risk of a measles epidemic, we started organizing a Measles Vaccination Campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The target group of a campaign consists of children aged six months to 15 years. In order to provide sufficient herd immunity, a coverage of 100% is required ie: all children need to be vaccinated. In reality, a result of 75% coverage is acceptable. A vaccination campaign is a huge logistical exercise.
Angie is a doctor working with MSF in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Please leave your questions and comments for Angie in the comments box below her blog post. 
Vaccinating Against Cholera in Guinea

More than 170,000 people in the Boffa region of Guinea recently became the first in Africa to receive a new two-dose oral vaccine for cholera, said MSF, which led the vaccination campaign.

The initiative, MSF said, could spur an improved response to cholera epidemics worldwide. In collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health, MSF focused its response on Boffa, a coastal region near Conakry, which was considered a hotspot of the epidemic.

“We were faced with an outbreak and we wanted first to protect people by vaccinating them, and to limit the spread of cholera,” said Dr. Dominique Legros, MSF’s innovation initiative manager in Geneva. “MSF is regularly involved in responding to cholera outbreaks and it is always difficult to control the disease. Because cholera evolves quickly, oral vaccination provides us with a new tool to try to contain [it]. If we can control the most active spots, we can reduce the spread of cholera.”Photo: An MSF patient takes a dose of the new oral cholera vaccine in Guinea.
Guinea 2012 © David Di Lorenzo

Vaccinating Against Cholera in Guinea

More than 170,000 people in the Boffa region of Guinea recently became the first in Africa to receive a new two-dose oral vaccine for cholera, said MSF, which led the vaccination campaign.

The initiative, MSF said, could spur an improved response to cholera epidemics worldwide. In collaboration with the Guinean Ministry of Health, MSF focused its response on Boffa, a coastal region near Conakry, which was considered a hotspot of the epidemic.

“We were faced with an outbreak and we wanted first to protect people by vaccinating them, and to limit the spread of cholera,” said Dr. Dominique Legros, MSF’s innovation initiative manager in Geneva. “MSF is regularly involved in responding to cholera outbreaks and it is always difficult to control the disease. Because cholera evolves quickly, oral vaccination provides us with a new tool to try to contain [it]. If we can control the most active spots, we can reduce the spread of cholera.

Photo: An MSF patient takes a dose of the new oral cholera vaccine in Guinea. Guinea 2012 © David Di Lorenzo

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine.
2012 © MSF

US and EU Derailing Ten-year Process to Create Health Research & Development Convention

The US and European Union delegations to the World Health Assembly are currently blocking efforts to move towards a binding convention on health R&D aimed at filling critical medical gaps for people in developing countries. MSF urged the US and European governments, who are leading the developed country effort, to stop obstructing a process that has been 10 years in the making and has broad support from developing countries.

MSF called on developing countries to continue efforts to progress towards a convention. Such a convention would require all governments to contribute financially to support R&D in key priority areas and would crucially separate—or de-link—the cost of R&D from the price of medical products, so that these are made affordable.

Photo:The new MenAfriVac vaccine. 2012 © MSF

New Global Vaccine Strategy Glosses Over Basic Immunization Gaps

A new, ten-year, multi-billion dollar action plan for global vaccination may fail to deliver if it does not directly address the weaknesses in routine immunization programs. Nineteen million children are being missed each year and this challenge must be explicitly addressed,MSF said today.

A “Global Vaccines Action Plan” has been designed to implement the “Decade of Vaccines” project and will be considered by health ministers gathering next week in Geneva for the 65th World Health Assembly. MSF welcomed the increased emphasis on vaccines stimulated by the “Decade of Vaccines” but expressed concern that some key challenges are being glossed over.

“The Global Vaccine Action Plan works on the assumption that basic vaccination programs are going well, and that’s just not the reality in many places where we work,” said Dr. Estrella Lasry of MSF. “Focusing on the newest vaccines without boosting existing systems is not a strategy that will benefit the most children: we can’t just keep piling on new vaccines and fail to get the basics right.”Photo:South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF
An MSF staff member vaccinates a child against measles in Abathok.

New Global Vaccine Strategy Glosses Over Basic Immunization Gaps

A new, ten-year, multi-billion dollar action plan for global vaccination may fail to deliver if it does not directly address the weaknesses in routine immunization programs. Nineteen million children are being missed each year and this challenge must be explicitly addressed,MSF said today.

A “Global Vaccines Action Plan” has been designed to implement the “Decade of Vaccines” project and will be considered by health ministers gathering next week in Geneva for the 65th World Health Assembly. MSF welcomed the increased emphasis on vaccines stimulated by the “Decade of Vaccines” but expressed concern that some key challenges are being glossed over.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan works on the assumption that basic vaccination programs are going well, and that’s just not the reality in many places where we work,” said Dr. Estrella Lasry of MSF. “Focusing on the newest vaccines without boosting existing systems is not a strategy that will benefit the most children: we can’t just keep piling on new vaccines and fail to get the basics right.”

Photo:South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF
An MSF staff member vaccinates a child against measles in Abathok.