Global commitment to immunization programs has achieved unparalleled success in improving health. Immunizations now save the lives of approximately 2.5 million children around the world per year. However, vaccine-preventable diseases still account for a quarter of deaths in children under five years of age worldwide. It is estimated that 22.4 million children around the world go without the full benefits of vaccination. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes that the health of those in the United States and the health of people around the world are closely linked. An outbreak of an infectious disease in another country can impact the health of people in the United States, just as a scientific discovery made in another country can lead to better treatment for diseases globally.
In 2010, in a demonstration of global commitment to immunization, partners from all over the world came together to begin the Decade of Vaccines, which spans from 2010–2020. This international effort aims to extend the benefits of immunization to all individuals and communities. The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration's Global Vaccine Action Plan provides a guiding vision toward achieving this goal. HHS is dedicated to this endeavor, with leadership from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involved in the leadership council and steering committee of the Global Vaccine Action Plan. This dedication is reflected not only in Goal 5 of the National Vaccine Plan, but also in the 2011 HHS Global Health Strategy’s objective to reduce infectious disease worldwide, with vaccine development, use, and evaluation as a key priority . Additionally, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee’s recent report and recommendations on global immunization will inform how HHS can best continue to contribute to global immunization efforts, consistent with the Global Health Strategy, Goal 5 of the National Vaccine Plan, and the Global Vaccine Action Plan.
Below, examples of recent advances and successes made by HHS and its partners to increase global prevention of death and disease through safe and effective vaccination are described. The National Vaccine Program Office helps to coordinate HHS work related to global immunization and facilitates collaboration among HHS agencies that work on global immunization issues.
- A strengthened commitment to global polio eradication.
- Continued strong support and engagement in global disease surveillance and immunization efforts, including measles elimination and expanded use of high impact vaccines including pneumococcal and rotavirus.
- Development and use of new vaccines tailored for global populations, such as MenAfriVac®.
- Greater and more widespread use of influenza vaccines, and development of influenza manufacturing capacity.
- Improved global pandemic preparedness by increasing vaccine manufacturing capacity in developing and under-resourced countries by over 280 million doses through infrastructure-building and technical training to the workforce to ensure high quality vaccine production.
- A continued commitment to reducing the global threat of influenza by building and strengthening capacity for developing and under-resourced countries to produce seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine.