WHO / SAGE IMMUNIZATION

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11-Apr-2022 00:05:54
WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) reviewed vaccine policy issues including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccination on immunization services, infection and vaccination-induced immunity, use of the Hepatitis A vaccine, Typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs), changes to the HPV vaccination schedule, and the polio eradication programme. WHO

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STORY: WHO / SAGE IMMUNIZATION
TRT: 5:54
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, press briefing room
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Alejandro Cravioto, Chair, Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization:
“Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, and women die approximately every 2 minutes from this disease. Now, SAGE has reviewed in 2019 the evidence we had in relation to how many doses, the optimal use of a vaccine to be able to prevent against disease. And what we found then is that we didn't have enough information to be able to change a recommendation for the use of two or three doses, depending on the scheme and the vaccine in use. This has changed nowadays and we have enough evidence that was reviewed by our working group on these vaccines and we are now able to say that we can recommend the vaccination as follows. For girls between 9 and 14 years of age, we can say that we can use a one or a two-dose schedule depending on the country's choice. For women aged 15 to 20, we can also recommend a one or a two-dose schedule for this age group. In the sense of older women, more than 21 years of age, we continue to recommend two doses six months apart and for those people who are immunocompromised, mainly people with HIV or other diseases that compromise their immune system, we recommend that they vaccinate at least with two and if not three doses so that they are fully immunized. In the case of boys and older males, we recommend the same system as for the girls, the use of one or two doses to vaccinate them. And in that sense, it would be the same for cohorts of older women that have not had access to this vaccine first. "
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Alejandro Cravioto, Chair, Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization:
“The other thing we reviewed was the vaccination against hepatitis A, and in this case, it has been ten years since we reviewed the use of these vaccines in SAGE and therefore we have enough evidence now to show that in the case of the inactivated vaccines against hepatitis A, we can use also a single dose regimen to protect a much larger number of people and also to get countries that have a high burden of disease to be able to start vaccinating the people at risk in their own areas. This is something that perhaps with a two-dose regimen was more difficult, and we hope that the change to a single dose regimen might make it more accessible.”
5. Wide shot, press briefing room
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Kate O’Brien, Director, WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals:
“One of the issues I think we do have to point out regarding the European region is the challenges right now for children in conflict settings and in particular in the Ukraine, where obviously many children are displaced both internally and externally, and there are significant efforts and programmes to ensure that those children are up to date on their vaccinations. And where that hasn't happened for those children to get them immunized so that they can be safe from diseases that would pose a threat to them. In particular, concerns about measles, highly transmissible infection, certainly polio as well, with concerns about circulating vaccine derived polio and other diseases that are a focus for high transmission in settings like that.”
7. Wide shot, press briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Kate O’Brien, Director, WHO Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals:
“There is very coordinated efforts to assure that there are adequate vaccine supplies to take on the vaccination as needed of children who are displaced and to maintain and in fact, even grow the protection that children both in the receiving countries and the displaced children have, that these are issues that are sort of deeply being coordinated across the countries. And many of the surrounding countries of Ukraine have very strong immunization programs and are certainly prepared to take on the additional review of children's immunization schedules and their coverage.”
9. Wide shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Aidan O’Leary, Director for Polio Eradication, WHO:
“2021 has seen the lowest ever number of wild polio virus cases ever recorded, with just five cases in the two endemic countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan and as professor Cravioto has highlighted, we've had the case in Malawi, we are seeing a really sustained effort to really close those immunity gaps. And I do think that the points that had been highlighted by Kate, really focusing on those most vulnerable children, and in the case of polio eradication, it really is focusing on the inaccessible, the marginalised, the persistently missed is the key towards essentially finishing these jobs. They are essentially referred to as the zero dose children. And I think, you know, what we have seen is really good progress through 2021 into 2022. And we really just need to build on that momentum to finish the job once and for all to make sure that we are able to achieve this polio free world.”
11. Wide shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

At its regular meeting, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) reviewed vaccine policy issues including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccination on immunization services, infection and vaccination-induced immunity, use of the Hepatitis A vaccine, Typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs), changes to the HPV vaccination schedule, and the polio eradication programme.

The regular meeting was held from 4 to 7 April 2022.

Speaking to reporters today (11 Apr) in Geneva, Dr Alejandro Cravioto, who is the Chair of SAGE on Immunization said, “cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, and women die approximately every 2 minutes from this disease.”

He continued, “SAGE has reviewed in 2019 the evidence we had in relation to how many doses, the optimal use of a vaccine to be able to prevent against disease. And what we found then is that we didn't have enough information to be able to change a recommendation for the use of two or three doses, depending on the scheme and the vaccine in use.”

Dr. Cravioto continued, “this has changed nowadays and we have enough evidence that was reviewed by our working group on these vaccines and we are now able to say that we can recommend the vaccination as follows.”

He elaborated, “for girls between 9 and 14 years of age, we can say that we can use a one or a two-dose schedule depending on the country's choice. For women aged 15 to 20, we can also recommend a one or a two-dose schedule for this age group. In the sense of older women, more than 21 years of age, we continue to recommend two doses six months apart and for those people who are immunocompromised, mainly people with HIV or other diseases that compromise their immune system, we recommend that they vaccinate at least with two and if not three doses so that they are fully immunized.”

In the case of boys and older males, Dr. Cravioto said, “we recommend the same system as for the girls, the use of one or two doses to vaccinate them. And in that sense, it would be the same for cohorts of older women that have not had access to this vaccine first. "

The Chair of SAGE also said, “the other thing we reviewed was the vaccination against hepatitis A, and in this case, it has been ten years since we reviewed the use of these vaccines in SAGE and therefore we have enough evidence now to show that in the case of the inactivated vaccines against hepatitis A, we can use also a single dose regimen to protect a much larger number of people and also to get countries that have a high burden of disease to be able to start vaccinating the people at risk in their own areas.”

He added, “this is something that perhaps with a two-dose regimen was more difficult, and we hope that the change to a single dose regimen might make it more accessible.”

WHO’s Dr Kate O’Brien who is the Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals also briefed the reporters.

She said, “one of the issues I think we do have to point out regarding the European region is the challenges right now for children in conflict settings and in particular in the Ukraine, where obviously many children are displaced both internally and externally, and there are significant efforts and programmes to ensure that those children are up to date on their vaccinations. And where that hasn't happened for those children to get them immunized so that they can be safe from diseases that would pose a threat to them.”

In particular, she continued, “concerns about measles, highly transmissible infection, certainly polio as well, with concerns about circulating vaccine derived polio and other diseases that are a focus for high transmission in settings like that.”

Dr. O’Brien also said, “there is very coordinated efforts to assure that there are adequate vaccine supplies to take on the vaccination as needed of children who are displaced and to maintain and in fact, even grow the protection that children both in the receiving countries and the displaced children have, that these are issues that are sort of deeply being coordinated across the countries.”

She added, “many of the surrounding countries of Ukraine have very strong immunization programs and are certainly prepared to take on the additional review of children's immunization schedules and their coverage.”

Dr Aidan O’Leary, WHO’s Director for Polio Eradication told reporters, “2021 has seen the lowest ever number of wild polio virus cases ever recorded, with just five cases in the two endemic countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan and as professor Cravioto has highlighted, we've had the case in Malawi, we are seeing a really sustained effort to really close those immunity gaps.”

He continued, “I do think that the points that had been highlighted by Kate, really focusing on those most vulnerable children, and in the case of polio eradication, it really is focusing on the inaccessible, the marginalised, the persistently missed is the key towards essentially finishing these jobs.”

Dr. O’Leary continued, “they are essentially referred to as the zero dose children. And I think, you know, what we have seen is really good progress through 2021 into 2022. And we really just need to build on that momentum to finish the job once and for all to make sure that we are able to achieve this polio free world.”
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