Washington, D.C., 26 April 2013 (PAHO/WHO) — Countries and territories participating in this year's Vaccination Week in the Americas obtained most of their vaccines through the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Revolving Fund, a cooperation mechanism that facilitates bulk purchases of vaccines and immunization supplies at lower prices.

 

"The PAHO Revolving Fund is an important reason why all the vaccines used during Vaccination Week in the Americas are free of charge to individuals and families," said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. "Like Vaccination Week itself, the fund's ultimate goal is to expand access to vaccines for people throughout the Americas, and especially to the most vulnerable."

The PAHO/WHO Revolving Fund works by pooling member countries' purchases of vaccines, syringes and immunization supplies and allows all countries to buy a given product at the same low price.

The fund provides countries a 60-day line of credit for purchases, and PAHO/WHO staff handle all aspects of planning and consolidation of demand, negotiations with producers, placement of purchase orders, coordination with suppliers and monitoring of shipments, as well as financial aspects involving paying suppliers and billing countries.

In turn, participating countries contribute 3% of the net purchase price on their orders to provide working capital for the fund. Countries can also get PAHO/WHO assistance in forecasting vaccine demand, monitoring vaccination coverage, and other areas of immunization planning.

In 2012, 39 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean purchased 60 different products through the Revolving Fund, worth a total of US$518 million. This included more than 200 million doses of vaccine containing 28 different antigens, including newer vaccines such as rotavirus, pneumococcal and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

"The Revolving Fund has played an important role in making the Americas a global leader in immunization," said Etienne. "Our countries not only have high vaccination rates, they also have been leaders in introducing new vaccines. The Revolving Fund has been an important factor in making those vaccines affordable."

Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective interventions for public health and prevents some 2—3 million deaths each year worldwide. Vaccination Week in the Americas is an annual initiative of PAHO/WHO member countries that seeks to extend the benefits of immunization throughout the Americas, and especially to remote and vulnerable communities. Over the last decade, more than 411 million children and adults have been vaccinated as part of Vaccination Week. The regional initiative also helped inspire the creation of World Immunization Week, which is being held this year for the second time.

PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.


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