MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Improved logistic systems needed to distribute life-saving vaccines

With World Immunization Week nearing, the World Health Organization said on Thursday that better logistic systems would be needed so that children around the world could have access to life-saving vaccines.

Getting supplies to developing counties, where vaccinations are most needed, has been a long standing obstacle. The WHO is taking World Immunization Week, which starts April 20, as a chance to call attention to the needs of these developing counties.

"We have seen some major advances in the development and delivery of vaccines in the past few years," WHO Assistant Director-General Flavia Bustreo said. "But many countries still face obstacles in getting life-saving vaccines to every child who needs them."

There are new plans to help improve the logistic systems and give these vaccinations to the children who need them. Some ideas have been to improve packaging for vaccines, which would make the unrefrigerated units last longer, improving information systems to show where vaccines are needed most and allocate more sources to remote and marginalized groups.

There has been a recent surge in some preventable diseases, like diphtheria, rubella and measles. Some of these outbreaks can be attributed to the lack of information people have about vaccines. Part of the plan would not only be to improve logistic systems and get vaccines to people who need them, but inform them about vaccinations as well.

"We need to help parents to better understand the benefits of immunization to ensure they reach all children, no matter where they live," Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said. "Today vaccines protect the lives of hundreds of millions of children; but with our partners, we need to ensure that an additional quarter of a billion children are immunized by 2015."