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Joint Statement on Immunization at the General Debate Under Agenda Item 3
September 21, 2023

The United States Joined the Following Joint Statement at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council

Agenda Item 3 – General Debate

Joint Statement on Immunization

As Delivered by Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, Permanent Mission of Viet Nam

Delivered by the Delegation of Panama

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of a group of 58 countries.

Immunization is a crucial part of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, a key component of primary healthcare, and vital to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and SDG 3.8. Vaccination represents one of history’s most successful and cost-effective investments in health and socio-economic development, offering lifelong benefits.

Nonetheless, the tragic reality persists: about 1.5 million lives are lost to vaccine-preventable diseases each year, and 25 million children worldwide remain under-immunized, missing out on basic vaccines due to limited access to vaccines and capacity of immunization programmes in many region.i

The COVID-19 pandemic has once again highlighted the comprehensive benefits of vaccines and vaccine multilateralism in preventing both non-communicable and communicable diseases, as well as the primary responsibility of States as duty bearers. It underscores the importance of multilateral efforts to ensure equitable, affordable, timely, and universal vaccine development, manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and vaccination for both routine programmes and health emergencies.

The Human Rights Council has a critical role to play in this regard, with the aim of saving lives, further promoting, and protecting the right to the highest attainable standard of health for all, particularly for children and persons in vulnerable situations.

States and other stakeholders are invited to enhance solidarity and collaboration to promote the implementation of the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030, ensuring that everyone, everywhere, at every age fully benefits from vaccines to enjoy the right to the highest attainable standard of health.

Targeted action plans should prioritize demographic groups most vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. In this regard, we stress the importance of providing the necessary technical support and capacity building to facilitate these efforts for a healthier future that leaves no one behind, thereby improving the productivity and resilience of countries and ensuring a more secure, stable, and prosperous world.

We also emphasize the necessity of enhanced international cooperation for the successful implementation of immunization programmes for the enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health for all.

I thank you, Mr. President.