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Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII) Focus of Day 4

Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII) Focus of Day 4

NADI, 30 September 2010 – Discussions on Day 4 of the 6th Pacific Immunisation Programme Strengthening (PIPS) Workshop was dedicated to the Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII).
Delegates from the Pacific were presented with background information and the history of VII, as well as the VII process followed by discussions surrounding the issues they faced and forward planning for the next five years.
According to Robert Matthews, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Supply Division Adviser “VII was established in 1992, to provide a mechanism to ensure a systematic, sustainable vaccine supply for countries which can afford to finance their own vaccine need but may require certain support services.’”
He added that “the goal was to support countries to become self reliant in vaccine financing and move from donor to self funding of routine immunisation.”
Currently UNICEF administer and assist 13 Pacific countries to buy vaccines through VII. Since its establishment, globally contributions have been made from the Governments of Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The VII process is quite simple with several stages from planning or forecasting of vaccines, costing, commitment from the country to repay the funding borrowed, procurement and delivery of vaccines and finally the most crucial stage which is to settle their accounts. VII has been approved for 5 years at a time, and earlier this month was approved for the next period (2011 – 2015).
Although the process is fairly simple to understand, the initiative has issues as well with countries not sending vaccine forecasts and orders on time and not being able to pay for their orders on time which stops other Pacific countries from ordering.
Raymond Mauriasi, Solomon Islands Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) coordinator acknowledged that the “payment of vaccines on time was a challenge.”
Geraldine Eoaeo, Primary Health Care Supervisor from Nauru was also in agreement regarding payment of vaccines from her country. “Several countries in the Pacific have this issue to deal with but we are working on addressing it here today in our group sessions and will come up with solutions or suggestions.”
Dr Eliab Some, UNICEF Pacific Chief of Health and Sanitation Programme reminded participants of the urgency to clear their outstanding payments to accommodate requests and orders from neighbouring Pacific countries.
“The good news is that countries are still able to pay even if it’s in instalments over 1 or 2 years. If countries know their population and budgeting needs, I don’t see why they cannot arrange payments on time with their Ministries of Finance,” he said.
To conclude the day’s discussions, delegates agreed that payment of vaccines was always a challenge and they needed to address funding issues at the next regional Health Ministers Meeting scheduled for next year.
The 6th PIPS workshop runs from September 27th – October 1st and is being hosted by the Government of Fiji. The workshop is organised by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), and New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).

For more information please contact Donna Hoerder, UNICEF Communications Specialist – External Relations, or 679 9265 518



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