SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

MSF recommends GAVI Alliance make vaccines cheaper, more accessible

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières released a statement on Monday suggesting improvements to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations to make immunizations more accessible and sustainable in developing nations.

"We fully support GAVI's mission of bringing new vaccines to children in developing countries, but we think that GAVI could improve its work in a number of areas so that more children can be protected from childhood killers," Executive Director of MSF's Access Campaign Dr. Manica Balasegaram said. "Humanitarian actors are still not able to access vaccines at the GAVI price so they can act swiftly in emergencies, vaccine prices overall are still too expensive for countries to afford long term and GAVI's not doing enough to support the vaccination needs of older children."

MSF recommended the GAVI Alliance make its lowest prices available to humanitarian actors. If humanitarian agencies, such as the MSF, cannot access low vaccine prices, it limits the ability for those agencies to respond to global emergencies.

MSF also recommended the GAVI Alliance push harder to lower the prices of vaccines, even after a country loses its qualification for GAVI assistance. MSF said keeping the prices of vaccines down will enhance the long-term sustainability of public health care programs and initiatives worldwide.

The GAVI Alliance was encouraged to make its vaccine programs available to children over the age of one year old. MSF said children that were not vaccinated against recommended health threats before one year of age should still receive these vaccinations to protect against potential killers.

The MSF's final recommendation for the GAVI Alliance was that it give vaccine development companies an incentive to develop vaccines that do not require refrigeration, as most in-need areas may not have the resources required to keep vaccines cold.

"We think GAVI should be commended for many of its accomplishments over the last decade, but we also think it's very important for GAVI to take a close and critical look at what it can improve going forward," Vaccines Policy Advisor at MSF's Access Campaign Kate Elder said. "We believe an ambitious, inclusive GAVI that will fight hard to shape markets, products and prices is essential."