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The National Vaccine Advisory Committee: Historical Contributions and Recent Accomplishments

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) was established in 1987 and held its first meeting in 1988.  Its purpose is to advise and make recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH), who serves as the Director of the National Vaccine Program, on matters related to the goals of the National Vaccine Program.  As the external federal advisory committee that oversees the National Vaccine Program, NVAC also monitors and provides feedback on the updating and implementation of the National Vaccine Plan.  

NVAC brings together non-federal subject matter experts from all areas of the field of immunization, including scientists, public health officials, and industry leaders.  Its membership is composed of 15 representatives from public and private organizations, including vaccine manufacturers, insurance providers, physicians, state and local health agencies, and non-profit organizations and the public. 

By bringing together stakeholders that represent all areas of immunization, NVAC is capable of providing advice and insights into the full range of vaccine- and immunization-related activities in the United States.  Through continuous monitoring and feedback into the immunization system, NVAC ensures that the work of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Government, and its many stakeholders is being directed appropriately to achieve the goals of the National Vaccine Program as outlined in the Public Health Service Act :

  • Vaccine Research.
  • Vaccine Development.
  • Safety and efficacy testing of vaccines.
  • Licensing of vaccine manufacturers and vaccines.
  • Production and procurement of vaccines.
  • Distribution and use of vaccines.
  • Evaluating the need for, the effectiveness, and adverse effects of vaccines and immunization activities.
  • Coordinating governmental and non-governmental activities.
  • Funding of federal agencies.

During its 25 years of leadership, NVAC has addressed concerns in all parts of the immunization system.  Through its review of issues in vaccine research and development, vaccine safety, vaccine communications, and vaccine delivery, and most recently on HHS’s contributions to global immunization efforts, NVAC has provided key recommendations and made major contributions to strengthening the national immunization system.

Read more in the full State of the National Vaccine Plan 2013 Annual Report [PDF]