World Health Assembly attendees call for more affordable vaccines

Representatives attending the annual World Health Assembly in Switzerland
Representatives attending the annual World Health Assembly in Switzerland | Courtesy of

Government representatives at the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday passed a resolution for greater transparency in vaccine prices and more affordable vaccines.

The costs to vaccinate a child have many countries and health professionals concerned for the wellness of their nations. In the poorest countries around the world, people must now pay 68 times more for childhood vaccinations than they paid in 2001, according to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international medical humanitarian organization. 

Many people cannot afford these new prices.

All of the member states, which amounts to more than 60 countries, adopted the resolution, including: Australia, Algeria, Brazil, Lebanon, Libya, Colombia, Egypt, Ecuador, Niger, Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, the Philippines, Pakistan and South Korea.

"While it's positive to see countries standing up for the health of their people, it also reflects the sad reality that vaccines are becoming increasingly too expensive for a large part of the world’s population," Dr. Manica Balasegaram, executive director for MSF's Access Campaign, said. 

The goal of the Access Campaign is to improve access to life-saving and life-prolonging medicines, diagnostic tests and vaccines for all members of society. 

“Countries are frustrated that they’re unable to protect their children because of high vaccine prices. The power is in countries’ hands to increase affordability by collectively improving transparency of prices paid at the national level. With this resolution, countries have made a clear call that more action is needed. We need to put public health before profit: life-saving vaccines for children shouldn’t be big business in poor countries.”

Organizations in this Story

Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders

Get notified the next time we write about Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors Without Borders!