SMART Vaccines 2.0 decision-support platform: A tool to facilitate and promote priority setting for sustainable vaccination in resource-limited settings

Benjamin J.J. McCormick, Peter Waiswa, Celia Nalwadda, Nelson K. Sewankambo, Stacey L. Knobler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

In resource-constrained environments, priority setting is critical to making sustainable decisions for introducing new and underused vaccines and choosing among vaccine products. Donor organisations and national governments in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) recognise the need to support prioritisation of vaccine decisions driven by local health system capacity, epidemiology and financial sustainability. Successful efforts have supported the establishment of National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) to undertake evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) in LMICs. Now, attention is increasingly focused on supporting their function to leverage local expertise and priorities. EIDM and priority-setting functions are complex and dynamic processes. Here, we report a pilot of a web-based decision-support tool. Applying tenets of multicriteria decision analysis, SMART Vaccines 2.0 supported transparent, reproducible and evidence-informed priority setting with an easy-to-use interface and shareable outputs. The pilot was run by the Uganda NITAG who were requested by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in 2016 to produce recommendations on the prioritised introduction of five new vaccines. The tool was acceptable to the NITAG and supported their recommendations to the MOH. The tool highlighted sensitivity in the prioritisation process to the inherent biases of different stakeholders. This feature also enabled examination of the implications of data uncertainty. Feedback from users identified areas where the tool could more explicitly support evidence-to-recommendation frameworks, ultimately informing the next generation of the platform, PriorityVax. Country ownership and priority setting in vaccine decisions are central to sustainability. PriorityVax promotes auditable and rigorous deliberations; enables and captures the decision matrix of users; and generates shareable documentation of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere003587
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume5
Issue number11
Early online date25 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • health policy
  • immunisation
  • public health
  • vaccines

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