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Dr. Christopher J. Elias, PATH’s president and CEO, has been appointed co-chair of the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration steering committee and secretariat to develop a global action plan for increasing access to vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Dr. Elias will share the role with Professor Pedro Alonso, director of the Institute for Global Health of Barcelona.

The steering committee and secretariat are part of a collaboration formed by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a global vaccine action plan. The plan will increase coordination across the international vaccine community to build on the success of key milestones in the discovery, development, and delivery of lifesaving vaccines. The collaboration follows Bill and Melinda Gates’ call in January 2010 for the next ten years to be the decade of vaccines.

The steering committee is comprised of 17 members from around the world. It will hold the primary responsibility for developing the action plan, which will enable greater coordination across all stakeholder groups, including national governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, the private sector, and philanthropic organizations.

The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration expects to finalize the action plan by mid-2012 and begin implementation shortly thereafter.

“We look forward to working with the global vaccine community to extend the benefits made possible by existing vaccines and new vaccines in development,” said Dr. Elias. “Together we can ensure that all children have a shot at a healthy life.”

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Posted December 9, 2010.