National immunization programmes

National immunization programme (NIP)

A national immunization programme (NIP) is the organizational component of Ministries of Health charged with preventing disease, disability, and death from vaccine-preventable diseases in children and adults. A NIP is a government programme that operates within the framework of overall health policy.

The national immunization programme is used interchangeably with the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) that originally focused on preventing vaccine-preventable diseases in children. All countries have a NIP to protect the population against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Key point

Like the NRA, the NIP is responsible for the delivery to the population of safe, effective vaccines of high quality.

The NRA releases vaccines for public use (lot release). The NIP assumes responsibility for the safe storage, handling, delivery and administration of these vaccines. In countries where the NRA does not have the capacity to act on vaccine safety issues, the NIP may factually have taken over some of the responsibilities of the NRA.