Global Action Plan to increase supply of pandemic influenza vaccines (GAP-II)Archived

ECDC comment

The objective of WHO’s Global Influenza Vaccine Action Plan (which began in 2006) is to increase the use and supply of influenza vaccines on a routine basis.

Transfer of Technology for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Production in Developing Countries Contribution from various authors; Compilation edited by Ray SpierVaccine 2011; 29 (Supplement 1) A1-A50 (1 July 2011)

The objective of WHO’s Global Influenza Vaccine Action Plan (which began in 2006) is to increase the use and supply of influenza vaccines on a routine basis. This is of value in itself, and is in accord with the European Health Council’s Recommendation on Seasonal Influenza Vaccination [1]. As it is enacted both GAP and the Health Council Recommendation will also reduce the difference between the potential vaccine demand and supply that appears during an influenza pandemic. The WHO has been publishing summaries and occasional report on its website including summarising the main objectives and goals of the plan. 

The original Global Action Plan (or GAP-1) followed from a consultation WHO organized in Geneva in May 2006 inviting key stakeholders from national immunization programmes, national regulatory authorities, vaccine manufacturers and the research community to participate. That consultation identified and prioritised practical solutions for reducing the anticipated gaps in vaccine supply and the participants drew up an Action Plan with strategies for the short, mid and long term, aiming to increase influenza vaccine production and surge capacity before and during an influenza pandemic. Three main approaches were identified when elaborating the plan:1. An increase in seasonal vaccine use; 2. An increase in production capacity and; 3. Further research and development.

It was recognised that the implementation of the plan will require the concerted efforts of countries, industry and the global health community with specific support from key financial donors (the Asian Development Bank, Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA) and technical bodies. The plan and its enactment 2006 to 2011 proved doubly timely. Almost as soon as the plan started a challenge arose to the global arrangements for influenza virus sharing on the basis that it was not of sufficient benefit to resource poor countries [2]. The fact that WHO had already put underway a programme for extending vaccine manufacturing and use to interested moderate resource countries (Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Viet Nam and others) facilitated the discussions though the situation was not resolved until the World Health Assembly this year. The second contribution was a small but significant contribution to vaccine production in the 2009 pandemic from those who were involved in the programme.     In preparation for a new consultation for the second five years of the programme many of those engaged in the programme have contributed to this special supplement of the journal Vaccine.