Vaccinations are a fundamental component of medical care and of public health; they prevent the spread of infectious and potentially deadly diseases. However, there are many complexities involved in the process of making and providing vaccines, from research and development of new vaccines to the financing of immunization services. The National Vaccine Plan was required by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to facilitate coordination of the vaccine enterprise across the United States. In 2008, the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO) asked the IOM to review a draft update of the National Vaccine Plan and to identify priority actions that the NVPO and its partners can take when finalizing and implementing the Plan.
In this report, the IOM finds that although the National Vaccine Program has had some great successes and has benefited from good coordination in certain areas, more improvements are needed and could be achieved through the National Vaccine Plan. These include accelerated development of needed vaccines, development of a national vaccine safety research agenda, a transformation in how we communicate about immunization, and taking full advantage of the potential of health information technology to support immunization against infectious diseases and to monitor vaccine safety.