Thank you Mr Chair,
I am speaking on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
At the Assembly last year, we called for the Director General to give high priority to reaching the goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan. However, the assessment report reveals that the plan remains off-track.
We welcome the achievements in some countries and regions, such as the sustained high coverage in many programmes. We also thank the Gavi Alliance and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative for their coordinated efforts to end polio.
Still, we are concerned to learn that the elimination strategies for maternal and neonatal tetanus are in urgent need of change and adequate resourcing.
We must also deal with the gaps related to accountability in the monitoring framework for the Action Plan, since this undermines the translation of the goals of the plan into reality.
We therefore welcome the recommendations put forward by the SAGE.
We urge countries to have immunization plans in place consistent with the Global Action Plan and to share relevant plans with regional offices. Countries soon to transition out of support must ensure sufficient domestic resources for immunization.
Immunization programmes must be an integral part of strengthened health systems. This is essential to improve equitable immunization coverage.
We are concerned with the global challenges related to production and delivery failures that affect the availability of vaccines. Such failures might jeopardize the implementation of national vaccination programmes.
As many other countries, we experience problems with non-evidence based information about possible side effects of vaccinations. Such undocumented warnings often become persistent myths. It is important to counter these in a coordinated manner.
We must ensure that parents, health care professionals and society as a whole have confidence in the immunization programmes.
Finally, the Ebola and Zika outbreaks have highlighted the urgent need for increased efforts in the development of new vaccines to prevent and respond to epidemics and pandemics.