MSF criticizes global vaccine plan for next decade

The medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders recently called on the World Health Organization's Executive Board to improve their Global Vaccine Action Plan.

MSF said that the plan will drive the global community's vaccines response for the next decade, but contains very serious shortcomings that need to be addressed immediately.

"If they fail to do so, some of the key reasons for why millions of children continue to die of vaccine preventable causes will be left unaddressed," MSF said.

The humanitarian group is predominantly concerned that the action plan does not include any provisions to monitor or control prices.

"Much more attention needs to be paid to getting vaccine prices down, for example by speeding up the market entry of emerging producers which would foster competition," Dr. Manica Balasegaram of MSF said. "The 'Decade of Vaccines' is expected to cost around $50 billion, and the cost of the vaccines themselves will swallow a large chunk of that money. Simply ignoring this fact is not acceptable."

MSF said that many of the vaccines planned for use are ill-suited for the developing world. Over the last five years, 112 million children were not administered basic vaccines because they lived in remote or rural areas. The action plan seeks to attain only one new adapted vaccine technology by 2020, though several others are on the edge of receiving World Health Organization Approval.

"Even for an organization with the logistical capacity of MSF, vaccinating children in hard-to-reach places, with vaccines that need to be kept cold, is a serious challenge and it means children are falling through the net," Kate Elder of MSF's Access Campaign said. "We need more products that make vaccinating children easier. We need a clear signal that this is a critical objective for the next ten years."