FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Global Vaccine Action Plan faces criticism

The Global Vaccine Action Plan faces criticism from developing countries, which recently said not enough is being done to decrease vaccine prices or offer non-refrigerated options to those living remotely.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan, created by Decade of Vaccines Collaboration, which includes the World Health Organization, U.N. Children's Fund, the GAVI Alliance and the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, is a $57 billion plan to reach some 22 million children in developing countries that are not vaccinated against dangerous diseases, Trust.org reports.

The plan strives to train the health workforce in developing countries, use mobile technology and allocate health resources to marginalized groups such as indigenous communities. The plan also strives to educate those about vaccines, as some parents refuse to vaccinate their children because they believe vaccines will harm their children, according to Trust.org.

Médecins Sans Frontières said the action plan is a start, but does not ensure new technology advancements or affordable vaccine access. Kate Elder, vaccines policy advisor for the charity's Access Campaign, also criticized the plan, saying prices for vaccines have increased by 2,700 percent in the last decade and are not only unaffordable for those in developing countries, but also cannot reach those in remote areas because most vaccinations require refrigeration, which is often not available to marginalized groups, Trust.org reports.

Despite criticism, a GAVI Alliance spokesperson released a statement in defense of the initiative.

"Today, for the first time in history, children in developing countries are being protected against major childhood killers, including pneumococcal disease and rotavirus, using highly technically-advanced vaccines," the GAVI spokesperson said, according to Trust.org.

The spokesperson also said the organizations have supported the development of vaccines that do not require refrigeration and they are working to lower vaccination costs.

"The Global Vaccine Action Plan has a section dedicated to research and new ideas, and we welcome constructive input from all interested parties about how we can innovate further," the GAVI spokesperson said.