Experts will consider how to close gaps in vaccination coverage in Panama to promote health equity in the Region, as well as priorities for HPV vaccine use in the Americas, among others.

Washington, D.C., 11 July 2017 (PAHO/WHO) - The actions that need to be implemented in the countries of the Americas to maintain measles and rubella elimination will be at the top of the work agenda of the Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases, which meets in Panama City on 12-14 July.

The Region of the Americas was declared free of measles in September 2016 and free of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in April 2015. It was the first region in the world to do so and the working group will be studying a series of proposed actions to maintain both achievements.

The Technical Advisory Group includes representatives of the Expanded Program on Immunization from over 30 countries of the Americas, experts from the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), and representatives from epidemiological surveillance sectors and ministry of health laboratories, as well as members of national advisory committees on immunization.

Measles was the fifth vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas, after the eradication of smallpox in 1971, poliomyelitis in 1994, and rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in 2015. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Expanded Program on Immunization, a driving force behind these achievements in all the countries of the Americas. The Technical Advisory Group will recognize this milestone anniversary during the working group.

At the meeting, experts will also analyze how countries of the Americas can prepare for certification of the global eradication of poliomyelitis, a disease that was eliminated in the Region in 1994, and is on the way to being eradicated worldwide. In addition, they will discuss ways to close gaps in vaccination coverage as a way of promoting health equity in the Region. Furthermore, the Technical Advisory Group will evaluate priorities for HPV vaccine use in the Americas.

Other topics include improving the access to and supply of vaccines and syringes through the PAHO Revolving Fund for Vaccine Procurement, a new proposal to address whooping cough in the Americas, and strengthening the cold chain in the continent, among others.

Representatives from agencies and partner organizations, such as UNICEF, the GAVI Alliance, the Sabin Institute, Rotary International, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, will also participate in this meeting.

PAHO's Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases is the forum that spearheads the review and promotion of immunization objectives and strategies in the Americas. In this regard, it reviews progress of national immunization programs, identifies research needs, and supervises research findings in progress. This working group, formed 32 years ago, convenes periodically to work on these objectives.

Links

PAHO - Comprehensive Family Immunization 
- Region of the Americas is declared free of measles
Americas region is declared the worlds' first to eliminate rubella