Immunization is entering a new era with the development of more vaccines. Issues such as multiple health priorities and the higher cost of new vaccines and technologies make immunization decision making increasingly complicated.
More than ever, national health authorities require the information and capacity to evaluate their needs, establish public health priorities, and formulate policies without pressure from the pharmaceutical industry or other external stakeholders. Evidence-based decision making is at heart of successful immunization policy and strategy formulation and implementation.
To improve evidence-based decision-making processes, WHO, UNICEF, and other health actors recommend the establishment of sustainable National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs). A NITAG is a technical resource that provides guidance to national policy makers and immunization program managers to enable them to make evidence-based decisions on immunization and vaccines. In particular, NITAGs make recommendations on issues such as the introduction of new vaccines, appropriate vaccine schedules, financing, and research priorities and strategies (for more information, see the FAQs ).
The majority of industrialized countries and some developing countries have formally established NITAGs. But in the case of the latter, they often lack the necessary resources to function effectively. Several other countries have expressed interest in setting up these committees.
Since 2008, SIVAC has been supporting countries to establish or strengthen NITAGs for improved immunization policies and programs.
“NITAGs have become a particularly important advisory resource in light of the complexities and advancements in immunization, the higher cost of new vaccines, and the introduction of new vaccine technologies. We anticipate that [they will enable governments] to formulate contextually appropriate immunization policies and programs, increasing vaccination coverage and improving public health.” - Dr. Alfred da Silva, executive director of AMP