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May 13, 2022

GHTC delivered the following statement, on the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) agenda item 14.5 Immunization Agenda 2030, on May 13, 2022 at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) WHA stakeholder listening session:

Thank you once again for the opportunity to provide feedback on this important agenda item. Many recent scientific and multilateral agency reports and publications suggest that overall, immunization took a step backward in the past two years. Despite the tireless efforts of countless immunization program staff and health workers to ensure the availability of vaccination services, vaccination coverage globally fell for the first time in a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed immunization infrastructure and workforce, impacted the global supply chain, increased the incidence of antimicrobial resistance, and derailed gains made in immunization campaigns around the world. 

Therefore, GHTC calls on the United States to:    

  1. Focus on the full spectrum of innovations that support immunization programs. The near term will inevitably be dominated by a continuing focus on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. Nevertheless, it is vital that these activities are also leveraged to strengthen vaccine manufacturing capacities to address a broader range of health areas. This also includes storage, administration, and coadministration with other health interventions as well as novel service delivery, including focused “test & vaccinate” strategies as recently recommended by the Gavi board. 

  2. Support the development of formal feedback loops to monitor follow up and implementation of recommendations made by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization and other regional immunization technical advisory groups. 

  3. Accelerate and expand the COVAX facility research and development agenda to advance next-generation COVID-19 vaccines, including “variant-proof” COVID-19 vaccines and shots that could provide wide protection against coronaviruses, vaccines with optimized dosing, and vaccines more suitable for delivery in low-resource settings. World leaders must also do everything in their power to correct the shameful lack of equitable access to these lifesaving tools.