Information About this Website
What is the purpose of this web site?
The NITAG Resource Center is the largest resource for practical, user-friendly NITAG-related information today. It provides useful information and tools to NITAGs worldwide and updates the NITAG community of recent activities and publications from other NITAGs or partners. The idea behind the NRC is to serve as a reliable source of information, promote collaboration between NITAGs, bringing the community together and helping share resources to create a network of NITAGs worlwide.
The NITAG Resource Center is a collaboration initiated by several technical agencies and countries actively implicated in supporting evidence-informed decision making for immunization programs and policies.
What information can you find on this web site?
This web site offers a centralized access to NITAG recommendations from around the world, scientific publications, technical reports, systematic reviews and WHO Position Papers through the media center. The NRC also makes available the latest news from the NITAG community and all upcoming events.
The interactive map displaying NITAGs' status according to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Reporting Form indicators gives an overview of NITAGs' situation and evolution. If you click on a country, you will get additional information, including contact details of the NITAG focal point, the website (when there is one) and the most recent publications.
Last but not least, the tab "NITAGS" presents key publications for the establishment, strengthening and evaluation of NITAGs.
Who is this web site for?
The site is dedicated to NITAG members worldwide. It provides content to NITAG members as well as material to partners and the global immunization & vaccine community.
How can I use the search engine?
Available from the homepage and the media center, the search engine gives the opportunity to refine your query thanks to the different filters:
- Type of document (e.g. report, scientific article, recommendation);
- Region and/or country;
Interesting Tidbit: Filters can be combined to get the most relevant results possible. For example, if you are looking for the NITAG recommendation of the UK on Meningococcal, you should then select 'NITAG Documentation' and 'Recommendation' then 'Meningitis' and Europe and 'United-Kingdom'.
The most recent document will appear higher up but you can change that option and sort the results by the oldest first.
General Information About NITAGs
What is a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG)?
A National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) is both a technical resource and a deliberative body of national experts who advise national authorities and policy makers to enable them to make evidence-based immunization related policy decisions, including choices of new vaccines and technologies and needed adjustments to existing programs and schedules. The role of the NITAG is essentially consultative and the ultimate decisions about programs are left to national authorities.
The article "National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs): Guidance for their establishment and strengthening" by Philippe Duclos offers an exhaustive approach on the subject..
What is the role of a NITAG?
NITAGs provide National Authorities with evidence-based recommendations for national immunization programs and policies.
General terms of references of NITAGs have been drawn based on the WHO recommendations:
- Conduct policy analyses and determine optimal national immunization policies
- Guide the national government and the national immunization program on the formulation of strategies for the control of vaccine-preventable diseases through immunization
- Advise the national authorities on the monitoring of the immunization program so that impact can be measured and quantified
- Advise the government on the collection of important disease and vaccine uptake data and information
- Identify the need for further data for policy making
- Guide, where appropriate, organizations, institutions, or government agencies in the formulation of policies, plans, and strategies for research and development of new vaccines and vaccine delivery technologies for the future
These terms of reference are not exhaustive and have to be adjusted according to the country's needs and resources.
What recommendations do NITAGs make?
NITAGs provide recommendations on all immunization-related issues, concerning all target populations and all age groups. This includes recommendations on:
- All immunization policies and strategies within the National Immunization Program
- Introduction of new vaccines and immunization technologies
- Vaccine schedules
- Financing of immunization programs and procurement of vaccines
- Vaccine quality and safety
- Research priorities and strategies
- New and emerging vaccine-preventable diseases
Recommendations are subsequently disseminated to the Ministry of Health for consideration and decision-making.
What are the benefits of NITAGs?
When fully integrated in the national decision-making system, NITAGs contribute to country ownership of national immunization policies by enhancing the use of evidence (be they scientific, economic and local) in the decision-making process. Subsequently, they help resist pressure from interest groups and reinforce the credibility of proposed national vaccine and immunization policies.
How are NITAGs established?
The establishment of a NITAG should come from a national initiative. Then a working group composed of at least one member of the Ministry of Health, the EPI Manager and an expert, agrees on the terms of reference and operating procedures of the NITAG. Thereafter, the committee is formally established through a ministerial decree.
Who are NITAG members?
NITAG core members are credible national experts from a broad range of disciplines (pediatricians, epidemiologists, public health experts, health economists, vaccinology experts, social scientists, etc.). They should be independent and serve in their own capacity; they must not represent the interests of a particular group or stakeholder. They should be free of any conflict of interest.
Observers and invited experts can also contribute as ex-officio and liaison members (non-core members). In particular, they can participate in discussions and provide background material or evidence but cannot vote. These members may include representatives from:
- Government entities
- Other national advisory committees involved in immunization activities
- Professional societies or associations
- Key technical partners (e.g., WHO, UNICEF)
What are the differences between a NITAG and an ICC (Inter-Agency Coordination Committee)?
A NITAG is a multidisciplinary committee of national experts who advise immunization decision-makers based on local evidence. They are not responsible for the final decisions or implementing them.
In contrast, the ICC is composed of institutional representatives at both national and supranational levels responsible for planning and implementing immunization policies once adopted by the Ministry of Health.
Is it costly to have a NITAG?
NITAG operational costs are minimal. Indeed, funding covers the organization and coordination of meetings, which is performed by the NITAG secretariat (usually from the ministry of health). Besides, members are unpaid. Regarding the establishment of the NITAG and its initial functioning, partners' support may be provided.
Joint Reporting Forms (JRF): what are they and what is their use?
Each year, WHO and UNICEF collect data and information from their Member States through the “Annual Report on Immunization” or “Joint Reporting Form” (JRF). This questionnaire is sent every year to all Member States and provides an official means to globally collect indicators on immunization program performance. Information collected in the form include incidence data, immunization schedules, coverage data, supplementary immunization activities, and a set of questions related to immunization systems, such as planning and management, stock management, safety, vaccine hesitancy and others. The form also contains a section about NITAGs with the following questions:
- Does your country have a standing technical advisory group on immunization?
- Does the formal group have formal written terms of reference?
- Is there a legislative or administrative basis for the advisory group?
- Are the following areas of expertise represented in the group as core membership? (pediatrics, public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, immunology, other)
- How many times did the advisory group meet last year?
- Were the agenda and background documents distributed at least one week prior to meetings?
- Are the members of the advisory group required to disclose conflicts of interest?
- Does the advisory group have a website or webpage?
The questionnaire is declarative and the veracity of each answer is not checked by WHO or UNICEF. However the survey remains a major source of information on the development of NITAGs around the globe.
Data collected through the JRF can be found on the WHO website. Furthermore, the NRC interactive map showing the situation of NITAGs worldwide is based on the JRF data on NITAGs.
How can I contact the site managers / administrators?
You can contact us:
- through our contact page or
- directly by email at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The knowledge manager will be pleased to answer your questions or respond to feedback shortly.
How can I contact a specific NITAG?
When a NITAG has allowed to be contacted, a focal point has been designated and his contact details can be accessed in the country datasheet from the interactive map.
How can I contact one of the partners (WHO, SIVAC Initiative, ministry of health, etc.) working with the NITAG?
Partner contact information is included in the tab "about", accessible here.