GHC statement on the Global Vaccine Action Plan at the 73rd World Health Assembly

November 09, 2020

Global Health Council was unable to submit statements on all (or some) official agenda items.

Global Health Council, in collaboration with partners, note the following:

We commend the World Health Organization and Member States on progress made toward global immunization targets. Despite these efforts, coverage of essential vaccines only increased from 84 to 86 percent from 2010 to 2018, leaving nearly 20M children unvaccinated every year. Polio has not been eradicated and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to undo decades of progress. Improved immunization programs will help counter rising rates of antimicrobial resistance and help ensure existing medicines remain effective. Vaccines are an essential prevention tool. Member States must invest in R&D for vaccine technologies and increased capacity-building for the uptake of innovations within national programs.

We support recommendations for a post-2020 strategy that places countries at the center of strategy development, we urge prioritizing measurable, global targets on vaccines like MMR, DTaP, and IPV, while allowing national and regional disease surveillance to inform recommendations for prevention of other infections. Specific dates for achieving targets are needed to ensure national accountability for demonstrating progress.

We are encouraged by the Director-General noting the important role non-state actors play in strengthening vaccine strategies. We stand ready to work with WHO to support new vaccine strategies, the R&D pipeline, and innovative solutions to ensure global uptake of these critical health interventions to mitigate global health challenges. We call for investment in safer conditions for the health workforce, many of whom are women, risking their lives to deliver frontline care. 

Frontline healthcare workers’ access to a COVID-19 vaccine is critical to the continuation of pandemic service delivery. WHO must encourage Member States to develop categories of people who will get vaccination coverage and which frontline healthcare workers should be prioritized. This list should serve as a policy at the national level.