This blog originally appeared on the PLOS Blogs website. Below is an excerpt.
In 2015, Jordans’ National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) recommended the introduction of four new vaccines to the National Immunization schedule, including Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), Rotavirus, Hepatitis A and Varicella. Despite a range of difficulties, including the growing population and influx of refugees, Jordan succeeded in the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in 2015, as well as the Hepatitis A vaccine in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated disruption in essential health services, the country faced resource constraints that led to the de-prioritization of the introduction of new routine vaccinations into the national schedule, such as PCV.
The results of such delays can be dire. In the Eastern Mediterranean region, of which Jordan is a part, an estimated 923,000 children under-5 die, with pneumonia accounting for over 20% of deaths among this age group. As Jordan is one of the five countries in the region that have yet to introduce PCV in their national immunization schedule (alongside Egypt, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, and Islamic Republic of Iran), stakeholders have been pushing for change to save the lives of children.
At Jordan’s NITAG meeting in January 2023, the country had another chance to re-visit the initiation of introducing the lifesaving PCV. In preparation for this meeting, the International Vaccine Access Center, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), prepared an evidence-based brief which provided data on the burden of pneumonia, the PCV cost-effectiveness, global status of PCV introduction and use, and available PCV products. Subsequently, the NITAG agreed that there was an urgent need to introduce PCV into the immunization schedule and agreed to provide their recommendations to the Ministry of Health.
Read the full blog to learn about Jordan’s experience with PCV introduction, including novel approaches to advocacy and creation of a supportive environment.