Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Global, regional, and national advisory committees on immunization

Evidence-based guidance on immunization and vaccine-related policy and programming is provided by a network of advisory committees at the global, regional, and national levels.

The World Health Organization provides recommendations on immunization issues of global importance. The WHO uses its convening power to receive recommendations from independent external advisory committees, which are comprised of experts from various geographical and institutional backgrounds acting in their own capacity. The committees’ deliberations, which are issued in the form of advice to the WHO Director-General, then provide the basis for WHO immunization policy recommendations. The principal advisory group to WHO for vaccines and immunization is the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization, which is charged with advising WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccines and technology, research and development, to delivery of immunization and its linkages with other health interventions.

SAGE is supported and/or works in concert with a number of technical advisory committees. The Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) provides scientific advice on issues of vaccine safety that are of potential global or regional concern and may have an impact on national immunization programmes. The Expert Committee on Biological Standardization (ECBS) sets norms and standards for the manufacturing, licensing and control to ensure the quality of vaccines and other biological products. The Immunization and Vaccines Related Implementation Research Advisory Committee (IVIR-AC) provides advice and recommendations on immunization and vaccine-related implementation research, including reviews of the relevance and applicability of quantitative methods, agenda setting and prioritization of research, and reviews of implementation progress and best practices. The Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (IPAC) advises WHO on the formulation of immunization strategies and operational standards, the tools and technologies necessary to reach and sustain high levels of immunization coverage and to promote immunization services of high quality.

At the regional level, Technical Advisory Groups (RTAGs) on Immunization have been established in each of the six WHO regions (Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific). RTAGs provide WHO Regional Directors and countries in the respective regions with recommendations on regional immunization priorities and strategies in light of the regional epidemiological and social context. Finally, the majority of industrialized and some developing countries have formally established National Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) to guide immunization policies. As countries have autonomy for decision making regarding their national policies and strategies and are responsible for implementing their own national programs and monitoring resulting impacts, NITAGs play a central role in providing guidance to national policy-makers and programme managers to enable them to make evidence-based immunization-related policy and programme decisions.

Technical advisory committees

Highlights

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