Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

WHO vaccine position papers

In accordance with its mandate to provide guidance to Member States on health policy matters, WHO publishes vaccine position papers providing global vaccine and immunization recommendations for diseases that have an international public health impact. The papers summarize essential background information on the respective diseases and vaccines, and conclude with the current WHO position concerning their use in the global context.

The papers are designed for use by national public health officials and immunization programme managers. They may also be of interest to international funding agencies, the vaccine manufacturing industry, the medical community, and the scientific media.

WHO position papers follow the recommendations of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on immunization and undergo a formal review process both internally and externally prior to publication. Processes to manage potential conflicts of interest and to ensure careful and critical appraisal of the best scientific evidence have become more rigorous in recent years. A register of interests of SAGE members is maintained by WHO with summaries of interests declared relevant to SAGE topics published on the SAGE web site.

The position papers are published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record in English and French and translated into the other WHO official languages: Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish. Each position paper is now accompanied by a summary in both text and slide formats, a list of key references, and tables of grading of scientific evidence.

The need for updating vaccine position papers is reviewed periodically and depends primarily on the availability of new scientific evidence and public health priorities. A brief update concerning a specific recommendation in a paper is released when warranted.

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