The number of new vaccines being introduced in developing countries has increased significantly in recent years. Sharing successful strategies and best practices for introducing new vaccines is essential to ensure rapid, equitable, safe and efficient introduction and delivery of new vaccines.
The number of new vaccines being introduced in developing countries has increased significantly in recent years.
Some countries, such as Ghana, have succeeded in introducing four vaccines into their routine immunisation programme in just one year.
Sharing successful strategies and best practices for introducing new vaccines is essential to ensure rapid, equitable, safe and efficient introduction and delivery of new vaccines.
The WHO presented the evidence base for their policy recommendations on pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccination.
Thomas Cherian emphasised that evidence shows that the PCV vaccine “has had a dramatic effect on invasive pneumococcal disease and even fairly significant indirect effects on those not vaccinated”.
Data presented from Mexico shows that the rotavirus vaccine has contributed to a significant reduction in diarrhoea mortality and the benefits of this vaccine are now being extended across more and more countries.
Representatives from Africa and the Americas highlighted that successful introductions are often dependent on country ownership and the support and engagement of all stakeholders. Successful introductions depend on many pieces of the puzzle all falling into place: adequate resources, appropriate communications, strong health systems, sufficient cold chain and logistics capacity and well-prepared strategies on how to ensure the vaccines reach remote and most at-risk population groups.
PAHO shared examples of the many ways in which it is supporting the introduction of new vaccines and explained the importance of country ownership when deciding on scheduling, vaccine profiles and roll-out.
Cuauhtemoc Ruiz Matus concluded that “these new vaccines not only save lives, but they should be seen as a good opportunity to strengthen the routine vaccine programme. Country ownership has been essential in PAHO, along with the shared view of vaccines as public goods.”
Malawi summarised its experience of introductions in 2011 and 2012, sharing examples of key steps and contributory factors such as the National Task Force convened specifically for the introduction of Rotavirus vaccines.
Strong political support, with media coverage of the Minister of Health himself immunising children and clearly demonstrating his support for the programme, was also crucial.