Updates from the 75th World Health Assembly
Immunization Agenda 2030
Delegates from Member States, agencies and non-state actor organizations made statements of resounding support for the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), unanimously calling for the World Health Assembly (WHA) to note the first IA2030 Global Report and for Member States and partners to take due account of the recommendations therein.
Delegates noted with concern the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of the IA2030 in their countries, with a regression in coverage and an increase in zero-dose children. They described national efforts to catch up missed vaccinations as well as a strong commitment to work towards getting immunization ‘back on track’ towards achieving the IA2030 goals.
While highlighting a continued focus on COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in many Member States, delegates nevertheless called for activities and resources to be used to increase capacity, strengthen vaccine delivery infrastructure, improve data systems and enhance disease surveillance.
Many delegates called for the greater integration of the COVID-19 response into routine immunization activities at both the country and global response levels, using lessons learned from the pandemic to build and strengthen immunization programs and primary health care (PHC), including the use of evidence-based information and targeted communications to address vaccine hesitancy.
Several delegates also highlighted the challenges facing countries transitioning from Gavi support in the midst of the COVID-19 response and raised the issue of vaccine supply and affordability, highlighting the need for further focus on strengthening diversified and local manufacturing capacity in IA2030.
In the closing remarks from the Secretariat, the Deputy Director General (DDG), thanked Member States for the supportive statements and insightful comments on the first IA2030 Global Report. Calling on Member States to seize the momentum on open vaccine research, full vaccine access, diversification of vaccine manufacturing, immunization programme innovation, quality and equity to assure reach, resilience and impact of immunization programmes for all ages, and PHC more broadly.
The DDG highlighted the importance many Member States put on trust and demand for immunization, including through access and in the face of information overload including misinformation. Further, noting the paramount importance of transparency and inclusiveness in decision making, including the continued open process of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).
Finally, the DGG appreciated Member States for striving to address long-standing inequities, by reaching zero-dose children and called for the global community to work together to implement the IA2030 strategy, emphasizing that Member States’ national determination and regional cooperation will determine its success.
Global Road map on defeating meningitis by 2030
Building on the successes of recent decades in the fight against meningitis, for the first time ever through resolution WHA73.9, 194 countries collectively resolved to end the intense suffering from a disease that is largely vaccine-preventable.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and partners launched the Defeating Meningitis by 2030: Global Road Map on Tuesday, 28 September 2021.
At the 75th World Health Assembly, Member States from all six WHO regions re-emphasized the importance of meningitis as a health problem with major socio-economic consequences. Seventeen Member States made specific supportive statements, repeating their commitment to the global roadmap, highlighting their progress in implementation to date and their readiness to support WHO in this global effort, along the five pillars of the road map.
Member States expressed strong support for the establishment of the Strategy Support Group, aiming to facilitate the implementation of the global road map, and raise the profile of meningitis on the global health agenda.
Member States emphasized the relevance of strengthening the integration of meningitis, diagnosis and care in Primary Health Care (PHC), and to prevent disability resulting from the disease.
Member States also highlighted the need for innovation in diagnostics and improving equitable access to affordable vaccines.
The Secretariat confirmed that the first meeting of the Strategic Support Group is expected to be held by October 2022 and that a progress report on global meningitis prevention and control will be presented to the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly, in 2023.