XI Ad Hoc Meeting of the PAHO Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 21 November 2023. Virtual

xi meeting tag

The Region of the Americas is recovering its immunization coverage rates for most antigens. In 2022, the coverage rate for the third dose of the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP3) was 90% – up from 86% in 2021. Overall, 1.3 million children younger than 1 year remain unvaccinated, compared to 1.9 million in 2021. Of course, the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is long, but the Americas are showing signs of progress. However, this progress is under threat from persistent infections that cause heavy burdens of disease in the Americas. Especially heavy is the burden of dengue virus. In 2002, dengue cases exceeded 1 million, whereas more than 2 million were recorded in 2013, and more than 3 million in 2019. While the regional dengue case fatality rate remains below 0.05%, the increased transmission is undermining countries’ efforts for social and economic recovery. In September 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization recommended the use of the two-dose TAK-003 dengue vaccine series produced by Takeda for children ages 6 to 16 years who live in settings with high dengue disease burden and high transmission intensity. During this XI Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Secretariat asked TAG members to consider the evidence on the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine and propose recommendations for its use in the Americas. Also, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is cause for great concern in the Americas. Data reported from Member States to the PAHO integrated respiratory surveillance network SARInet Plus indicate that RSV contributes significantly to the burden of respiratory diseases in the Region. By age group, RSV-associated cases and hospitalizations have been primarily reported among infants younger than 2 years. In recent months, both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the RSVpreF vaccine Abrysvo produced by Pfizer for pregnant women, with the goal of reducing RSV incidence among newborns younger than 6 months. Again, TAG members were called to provide their recommendations to PAHO on the use of this vaccine in the Americas.