New vaccine introductions in Africa before and during the decade of vaccines –are we making progress?
CITATION: Sambala, E. Z., et al. 2019. New vaccine introductions in Africa before and during the decade of vaccines –are we making progress?. Vaccine, 37(25):3290-3295, doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.05.002.
The original publication is available at https://www.sciencedirect.com
Vaccines are excellent investments with far-reaching rewards beyond individual and population health, but their introduction into national programs has been historically slow in Africa. We provide an overview of the introduction of new and underutilized vaccines in countries of the WHO African Region by 2017, using data from the WHO-UNICEF Joint Reporting Form. By 2017, all 47 countries had introduced vaccines containing hepatitis B (compared to 11% in 2000 and 98% in 2010) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (compared to 4% in 2000 and 91% in 2010). The proportion of countries that had introduced other vaccines by 2017 was 83% for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) from 7% in 2010, 72% for rotavirus vaccine from 2% in 2010, 55% for the second dose of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV2) (compared to 11% in 2000 and 17% in 2010), and 45% for rubella-containing vaccines (RCV) (compared to 4% in 2000 and 7% in 2010). From 2000 to 2010, there was no significant difference between countries eligible (N = 36) and those not eligible (N = 10) for Gavi support in the introduction of hepatitis B and PCV. However, Gavi eligible countries were more likely to introduce Hib and non-Gavi eligible countries were more likely to introduce MCV2 and RCV. From 2010 to 2017, the only significant differences that remained between the two groups of countries were with mumps, inactivated polio and seasonal influenza vaccines; which non-Gavi eligible countries were more likely to have introduced. There has been significant progress in the introduction of new childhood vaccines in Africa, mostly driven by Gavi support. As many countries are expected to transition out of Gavi support soon, there is need for countries in the region to identify predictable, reliable and sustainable immunization funding mechanisms. This requires commitments and actions that go beyond the purchase of vaccines.