During the XIX Meeting of the Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Deputy Director of PAHO described the progress made by ProVac, an initiative financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the ability of the countries of the Region to make evidence-based decisions when adding new vaccines to their vaccination schedule.

Buenos Aires, 7 July 2011 (PAHO/WHO). Studies to determine the cost-effectiveness of introducing pneumococcal conjugate, rotavirus, influenza, or HPV vaccine in the countries of the Hemisphere are among the activities promoted by the ProVac Project, an initiative of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This project was created with the object of "strengthening the infrastructure of the countries of the Region and decision-making processes for the introduction of new vaccines," noted Jon Andrus, Deputy Director of PAHO/WHO, during the second day of the XIX Meeting of the Organization's Technical Advisory Group on Vaccine-preventable Diseases, which is being held through 8 July in Buenos Aires.

Andrus also explained that the initiative is aimed at developing tools for economic analysis, providing training for multidisciplinary national teams, collecting data, conducting studies and building the entire framework of evidence, and advocating for evidence-based decision-making, in addition to planning the effective introduction of vaccines when the evidence warrants it.


"Our greatest challenge is to reduce inequities and guarantee access to new vaccines that have the potential to save more lives," said Andrus before an audience of experts and officials from the Region's Ministries of Health.
Several countries in the Hemisphere have formed ProVac teams that include experts, officials, and members of the PAHO/WHO Expanded Program on Immunization, who conduct research and prepare documents that aid in decision making.

A network of centers of excellence created by ProVac contributes in this regard. This group of entities from the Region includes the Institute for Clinical and Public Health Effectiveness of Argentina, the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, the state universities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (Brazil), and the University of Cartagena and National University (Colombia).

The activities of the project headed by Andrus include economic studies for the nationwide introduction of vaccines such as the pneumococcal conjugate, rotavirus, or HPV vaccine in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other countries.

Moreover, as the Deputy Director of the Pan American Health Organization maintained, "PAHO is committed to ensuring the introduction of vaccines that save lives, based on the best available scientific evidence and the principles of sustainability, equity, and access."

"There is no magic formula for ensuring the equitable and sustainable introduction of new vaccines in developing countries," stated Andrus, who added, "In the final analysis, it requires a strategic vision based on long-term objectives, not short-term solutions."

For more information on ProVac