The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) consists of 15 experts in fields associated with immunization who develop written recommendations on the routine administration of vaccines to the United States civilian population. The United States ACIP meets three times a year and is open to the public, as are all of the records from past meetings.

The role of the committee is to make informed evidence based decisions on the use of vaccines and related biological products in the United States. The committee is independent from Government, although the 15 members are appointed by the Secretary of HHS, they come from many fields and are widely respected experts in their respective areas.

Many countries have similar committees to advise their governments on immunization. Throughout the Region of the Americas there are various types of committees ranging from strongly government controlled to fiercely independent. There are also many countries with no functioning committees at all.

Recently Sabin began a three year project designed to further inform national immunization committee members from the Region of the Americas. Last month we brought together National Committee Representatives from Colombia, Mexico, Brazil and Guatemala in Atlanta to observe the workings of the United States ACIP. Their attendance allowed not only exposure to the latest recommendations and experts in the field, but also to the process involved in determining immunization recommendations in the US. This information, combined with the opportunity to meet with experts on vaccination in smaller groups, will help the Latin American Committee Members to inform the vaccination recommendations that they make on returning to their countries, and hopefully lead to improved vaccine coverage in the Americas. Over the coming years we aim to bring representatives from 18 Latin American countries to these meetings working towards our goal of improved access to vaccines and essential medicines for citizens around the globe.

For more info on the U.S. ACIP:http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/default.htm#acip