Vaccines prevent around five premature deaths every minute and given the right conditions for access, effectiveness, innovation, and sustainability, the opportunity to increase the number of lives saved is substantial. Given the massive contribution of vaccination to the public good International aid and philanthropic donors have injected immense sums of money to make this happen. GAVI will spend over $7 billion and the Global Polio eradication program over 5 million dollars between 2010 and 2015. Whilst this has led to many exceptional achievements, success should not prevent continuous examination of whether we are fully optimising the huge untapped potential of today’s vaccines without damaging thebenefit that future vaccination innovation can bring.
Vaccination is a very complex ecosystem and like natural ecosystems, it can be fragile. For example in the 1990s demands for high volumes and low prices; rising quality and regulatory standards; new production technologies and standards; the threat of litigation in the USA; and the royalty costs of licensing IP from Biotech and academia led to dramatic contractions within the sector, widespread closure of manufacturers, and shortages of a number of essential vaccines.
Today’s vaccine ecosystem is defined by the pursuit of polio eradication, the drive to get as many of the new vaccines to as many people as possible and the R&D pursuit of vaccines against immunologically challenging diseases such as HIV, Malaria, TB, Dengue, RSV, HSV, Chlamydia and others. This era is also characterised by the emergence of major private donors and government subsidies. These donors and their agencies aim to extend global access to all vaccines through push and pull innovation in vaccines and vaccines systems. To achieve this they implement ’market-shaping’ aimed at incentivising increased volumes, lower prices and new producers of high volume, low-cost versions of existing vaccines.
This meeting aims to take stock of how healthy today’s vaccination ecosystem and its ability to reliably and sustainably supply high quality vaccines whilst maintaining investment in the innovation that we need for tomorrow.