Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Country decision making: introducing a new vaccine

This site provides resources useful to address policy and programmatic aspects of introducing a new vaccine into a national immunization programme.

EPI vaccines are considered to be among the most efficient uses of scarce health care resources. Today, there are many new and under-used vaccines available and many more under development. Past country experiences with introducing new vaccines have made it apparent that deliberations about incorporating a new vaccine into a national immunization schedule are influenced by multiple factors, including affordability and relative cost-effectiveness, disease burden, availability and price of vaccines, and safety and suitability of available vaccine products for national programmes.

Guidance on vaccine introduction

To assist national policy-makers with decisions on whether a vaccine should be added to a national immunization programme and guidance on how to introduce a new vaccine, WHO has developed a general vaccine introduction document which covers the key issues that should be addressed when considering and implementing a new vaccine introduction. The document includes information on planning and budgeting, monitoring implementation, evaluating impact, calculating vaccine supplies and managing the cold chain.

Several vaccine and product-specific guidelines have been developed to facilitate introduction and WHO vaccine position papers are available for all new vaccines. Tools to conduct post-introduction evaluations as well as to support cold chain assessments to prepare countries for the increased space that will be required by the addition of new vaccines are also available. WHO, UNICEF and their partners recommended that national programme managers attempt to consolidate existing plans for immunization objectives into a single comprehensive multi-year plan (cMYP), including an evaluation of the costs and financing of that plan.

Resources for country decision making processes

WHO recommendations for immunization

List of WHO prequalified vaccines

Vaccine products and pricing

Immunization practice

For general information on immunization service delivery at the health facility and district level, WHO has developed a practical resource document which covers the following topics: cold chain, safe injections, planning and holding immunization sessions, monitoring and using immunization data, and building community support for immunization.

Immunization financing toolkit

The Immunization Financing Toolkit is a series of short briefs on different options for financing national immunization programmes and vaccines. It is intended to serve as a resource for programme managers and decision makers in ministries of health, planning, and finance. The Toolkit brings together the most up-to-date knowledge on the characteristics of various types of financing mechanisms as well as information on how the mechanisms are being implemented in practice, their potential benefits, and their limitations. Where possible, case studies on specific financing options are included.

Last update: March 2014