Ministers of health from 194 countries at the World Health Assembly in Geneva have endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan, described as "a roadmap to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines".
The GVAP, which was coordinated by the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration, is based on extending "the full benefits of immunisation to all people, regardless of where they are born, who they are, or where they live". Currently, four out of every five children receive at least a basic set of vaccinations during infancy but this means 20% are missing out.
The plan has four "mutually reinforcing goals", namely strengthening routine immunisation, accelerating control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone, introducing new and improved vaccines and "spurring R&D for the next generation of vaccines and technologies". The GVAP is expected to reduce global childhood mortality, surpassing the targets of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goal 4.
Following approval by the World Health Assembly, the GVAP will be adapted for implementation at the regional and country level. The collaboration will also establish a monitoring and evaluation framework "and finalise estimates for funding needs as well as potential cost savings".