Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Department structure

Director's Office

The Director's Office is in charge of immunization programme policy, planning and coordination. It also carries out communication, advocacy, and media work, in addition to resource mobilization and management of funds. It also provides management support to the other three technical units:

Initiative for Vaccine Research (IVR)

The Initiative for Vaccine Research focuses on accelerating the discovery, development, evaluation and support of the early introduction of new vaccines, other biological products, immunization technologies and strategies. This includes the development of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines. The Initiative is composed of three units which concentrate on:

  • product research and development;
  • implementation research; and
  • the WHO-UNAIDS HIV Vaccine Initiative.

Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)

The Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was established in 1974 by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the aim of achieving a world in which all people at risk are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Its efforts are focused on maximizing access to high quality immunization services in order to eradicate, eliminate or control vaccine preventable diseases. EPI aims to work in close collaboration with other primary health care programmes, so that the immunization delivery platform is also used to deliver other linked interventions, and where vaccine delivery is coordinated with the delivery of other linked interventions to control diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and cervical cancer.

The work of the EPI team in WHO headquarters, Geneva, is structured under five cross-cutting functions, namely to support Member States to:

  • Strengthen immunization systems to be able to provided high quality services to all at risk with high and equitable coverage.
  • Accelerated disease control activities to achieve eradication, elimination or mortality reduction goals for specific diseases and to rapidly respond to outbreaks and other humanitarian emergencies with vaccination.
  • Effectively and efficiently introduce appropriate new vaccines into their national immunization programmes.
  • To monitor programme performance and conduct high quality surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases.
  • Procure sufficient quantities of vaccines at affordable prices to meet their programme needs.

Last updated: 27 November 2012

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Regions and partners

The Department also works closely with colleagues in WHO regional offices and with partners across the world.