WHO: Immediate and sustained action required on AI

24-10-2006 | |

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says its new global pandemic influenza action plan to increase vaccine supply requires immediate and sustained action and funding, if the world is to be prepared for an influenza pandemic.

“We are presently several billion doses short of the amount of pandemic influenza vaccine we would need to protect the global population,” said Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Director, WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research. “The Global Action Plan sets the course for what needs to be done, starting now, to increase vaccine production capacity and close the gap.”
The Global Action Plan is the product of the advice of more than 120 scientific experts from national immunisation programmes, national regulatory authorities, scientists and vaccine manufacturers in both industrialised and developing countries.
It identifies and prioritises practical solutions for reducing the potential pandemic influenza vaccine supply gap.
The action plan has already received support from many countries and organisations.
Dr Peter Salama, Chief, Child Survival and Immunisation Unit, UNICEF, said: “Our agency is pleased to support the Global Action Plan. We are working with the WHO to make sure that developing countries have the capacity to effectively and rapidly use the pandemic vaccine when it becomes available.”
Today, the United States announced a US$ 10 million contribution to the WHO to support influenza vaccine development and manufacturing infrastructure in other countries.
Leveraging its experience with domestic vaccine production, Canada is also supporting the Global Action Plan. “The global community has a responsibility to work together to narrow the supply gap,” said Canada’s Health Minister, Tony Clement.