Establishing global policy recommendations: the role of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2011 Feb;10(2):163-73. doi: 10.1586/erv.10.171.


The vaccine landscape has changed considerably over the last decade with many new vaccines and technological developments, unprecedented progress in reaching out to children and the development of new financing mechanisms. At the same time, there are more demands and additional expectations of national policy makers, donors and other interested parties for increased protection through immunization. The Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS), which broadens the previous scope of immunization efforts, sets a number of goals to be met by countries. The WHO has recently reviewed and adjusted both its policy making structure and processes for vaccines and immunization to include an enlarged consultation process to generate evidence-based recommendations, thereby ensuring the transparency of the decision making process and improving communications. This article describes the process of development of immunization policy recommendations at the global level and some of their impacts. It focuses on the roles and modes of operating of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization, which is the overarching advisory group involved with the issuance of policy recommendations, monitoring and facilitating the achievement of the GIVS goals. The article also describes the process leading to the publication of WHO vaccine position papers, which provide WHO recommendations on vaccine use. WHO vaccine-related recommendations have become a necessary step in the pathway to the introduction and use of vaccines, especially in developing countries and, consequently, have a clear and significant impact.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / standards*
  • Policy Making*
  • World Health Organization