5 February 2020, Geneva. Forty-eight speakers, including 38 delegates from the Member States, three observers and seven non-state actor organizations took the floor during the 146th Executive Board (EB) discussion on the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) and two corresponding decisions: “Strengthening global immunization efforts to leave no one behind” and “Meningitis prevention and control”. This marks a historic engagement at the EB on the GVAP agenda and an important step in preparing for the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA).
Delegates welcomed the draft immunization vision and strategy (“Immunization Agenda 2030”), highlighting the urgency and the critical need to ensure a successor for the GVAP to maintain the momentum and sustain the gains in vaccines and immunization, in the next decade.
Delegates noted that the lessons learned from the GVAP are key elements to consider while developing the new global immunization strategy. Lessons-learned from GVAP and the Decade of Vaccines demonstrate the challenges of reaching disease eradication and elimination goals, in the absence of strong essential immunization programmes. Therefore, the new vision and strategy for the next decade needs to be focused more strongly on strengthening immunization programmes as a part of primary health care.
Many speakers also highlighted new and emerging challenges, such as conflicts and emergencies, climate change, migration and population movements, community mistrust in vaccines and supply shortages and affordability, underlining the need for country ownership and leadership for strong immunization programmes. In particular, national governments and technical partners were encouraged to make the necessary investments to ensure immunization reaches all people at all stages of life, with immunization as an entry point for primary healthcare, and a core component of national health systems.
The Member States called for urgent action to accelerate progress towards immunization goals, promote data-driven and differentiated approaches and strategies both at the national and sub-national levels to reach vulnerable populations, including addressing gender-related barriers, fight vaccine-preventable diseases that recognize no borders and ensure global health security. Outbreaks of measles and Vaccine-derived polioviruses are stark reminders that strong immunization programmes and effective disease surveillance are needed to reach and sustain high levels of coverage, and to eliminate diseases.
Delegates noted that the global fight against meningitis is a powerful lever to drive progress to achieve Universal Health Coverage through strengthening immunization programmes and primary health care services and systems, and improving control of infectious diseases, global health security and access to disability support.
Delegates requested the Director-General to finalize, in consultation with the Member States and other relevant stakeholders, the “Immunization Agenda 2030” and “the draft global strategy to defeat meningitis by 2030” for consideration by the Seventy-third WHA.
Delegates commended the Governments of the United States of America and Burkina Faso for coordinating the development of the two draft resolutions, calling for the Member States as well as other stakeholders to endorse a new vision and strategy for immunization post-2020 and endorse a global strategy to defeat meningitis by 2030. The two draft resolutions will be discussed and finalized by the Member States in the intersessional period until the WHA.
List of Member States that made interventions during the GVAP discussion: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Monaco, New Zeeland, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Sudan, Thailand, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania and United States of America. List of EB observers that made interventions during the GVAP discussion: Palestine, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. List of non-state actors that made interventions during the GVAP discussion: Global Health Council, International Pharmaceutical Federation, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, International Pharmaceutical Students Federation, PATH, Save the Children Fund and Water Aid International