ADVAC participants at Les Pensières Center for Global Health
The 22nd edition of this long-standing course organized by the Mérieux Foundation and the University of Geneva was attended by 71 participants from 39 countries, all of whom are international decision-makers from academic institutions, industry, government or non-government organizations and work in fields linked with vaccines and immunization.
Some of the new developments introduced for the virtual course in 2021 were maintained, with the aim of continuing to develop the interactivity of the training course.
Course participants in panel discussions
This included the introduction of a mentoring system by members of the organization team to give participants the appropriate, personalized level of support. Other elements that were also retained included the monitoring of responses to all questions, discussion panels at the end of the course and the availability of all the resources for the course on the online Moodle platform, as well as video recordings of sessions and quizzes at the end of each lecture with multiple choice questions.
More than 80 internationally acclaimed speakers contributed to the success of the course with their expertise on multiple aspects of vaccinology. ADVAC had the honor of welcoming Dr Drew Weissman, who presented the “6th Lambert lecture” on understanding mRNA vaccines, and Dr Dan Barouch, who presented the “14th Plotkin lecture” on vaccine vector platforms for COVID-19.
These two weeks of intensive training provide participants with a comprehensive overview of vaccinology and immunology: from developing vaccines to clinical trials and including social, economic, political and ethical issues linked with vaccination. The aim is to facilitate their roles in societies marked by widespread distrust and vaccine hesitancy. Going beyond the knowledge and skills acquired during the course, ADVAC is also a large community of vaccinologists. The students join a network of alumni that includes more than 1200 experts from all fields of vaccination. They all recognize the decisive impact this training course may have on their careers, as well as the more general impact on public health in terms of the decisions taken on vaccines and vaccine strategies at a global level.
As Professor Stanley Plotkin concluded: “It’s now up to the ADVAC participants to put all their knowledge to good use and have a positive influence on the world by immunizing fragile populations and saving millions of lives”.