Washington, DC, October 1, 2014 (PAHO/WHO)

Dr. Carissa Etienne, PAHO/WHO Director discussing opportunities and challenges of the PAHO Revolving Fund Delegations of the countries of the Americas highlighted the benefits of purchasing vaccines for national immunization programs through the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO) Revolving Fund today during PAHO's 53rd Directing Council. Delegates also agreed on the need to strengthen the Fund during a debate on its progress and challenges. 

The Fund facilitates national immunization programs timely access to 46 vaccinations and 29 vaccination supplies, mainly financed by national budgets, and serves the majority of the population of the Americas. The region was the first to eradicate polio, and has also eliminated measles and rubella. 

"The Region remains at high risk for the introduction of measles and rubella due to continued global circulation of both viruses. Timely access to vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) supplies has contributed to the maintenance of the elimination goals," says a report to the PAHO Directing Council. "Currently, 95% of the population served by the Revolving Fund resides in countries where this vaccine is included in the national immunization programs," adds the document. 

The acquisition of new vaccines such as rotavirus and HPV are special challenges. "Supply, pricing, and procurement have a large impact on the Region because of the complexity of introducing new vaccines and the financial impact to sustain implementation. The market dynamics, future pipelines and potential competition differ," the report says. 

PAHO called on Member States to help address these challenges through having more accurate demand forecasts, sustainable financing, and greater economies of scale, among other actions. It also stressed the importance of solidarity between countries to continue purchasing vaccines in an economy of scale at low prices. 

You can read the full report here