HHS Unveils New National Vaccine Plan

Updated National Vaccine Plan will provide policy and scientific direction designed to prevent infectious diseases and reduce adverse reactions to vaccines.

The US Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled a new National Vaccine Plan to enhance coordination of all aspects of federal vaccine and immunization activities. Its goal is to ensure that all Americans can access the preventive benefits of vaccines.

The plan is a wide-ranging guide to innovating the nation’s vaccine system. It addresses such issues as research and development, supply, financing, distribution, safety, global cooperation, and informed decision-making among consumers and health care providers. This is the first update of the National Vaccine Plan since the original version in 1994.

“Vaccines are a critical cornerstone of the public health system,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, “The National Vaccine Plan articulates a vision that will ensure that the nation’s prevention strategies protect the public for the next decade and beyond.”

Despite the success of vaccines in reducing death and disability over the last century, many Americans still suffer from infectious diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. The plan offers innovative approaches to improve delivery of existing vaccines and to spur development of new products to prevent infectious disease.

The National Vaccine Plan is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process. It integrates input from public health and medical experts, a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, and perhaps most importantly, the public. “This plan is a 10-year vision for the nation to more effectively prevent infectious diseases and reduce adverse reactions to vaccines,” said Director of the National Vaccine Program Office and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH. “The plan is national in scope. Implementation will require a well-organized effort among stakeholders, including federal, state and local policymakers, health care providers, manufacturers, academia, philanthropic organizations, and the public.”

Next steps include a series of regional meetings with stakeholders in the spring and summer of 2011, which will focus on how to implement the strategies laid out in the National Vaccine Plan. The final implementation plan will be completed by the end of 2011.

The National Vaccine Plan is “the nation’s roadmap for a 21st century vaccine and immunization enterprise. It includes strategies for advancing vaccine research and development, financing, supply, distribution, safety, global cooperation, and informed decision-making among consumers and health care providers.” It is designed to achieve five broad goals:

  • Develop new and improved vaccines
  • Enhance understanding of the safety of vaccines and the safety of vaccination practices
  • Support informed vaccine decision-making by the public, providers and policymakers
  • Ensure a stable supply of, access to, and better use of recommended vaccines in the United States
  • Increase global prevention of death and disease through safe and effective vaccination

The implementation phase of the plan will “define specific actions and targets to be achieved across a 10-year horizon, and will include steps to monitor progress in accomplishing these goals. As implementation of the plan proceeds, new vaccine-related initiatives, such as improved regulatory science, medical countermeasures for emergencies, national prevention benefits, and global health partnerships will be incorporated in the nation’s vaccine strategy.”

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services