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Protecting the next generations with vaccines

‘Protecting the next generations: fighting diseases of poverty and preventing emerging infections” is the title of the new European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) film, proudly produced in a unique communications partnership with GSK, iBET, Moderna and Vaccines Europe. Altogether, we focus on the power of collaboration to bring faster and innovative solutions in the vaccine R&D field, by combining the best aspects of industry, biotech, NGO and academia.

The aim of this short new documentary is to share knowledge and heighten awareness among decision makers within governments, the private sector, NGO, and civil society about the significant role of vaccines in protecting and saving millions of lives, fighting emerging infections and addressing the next big challenges in vaccine development.

We always underestimate the power of vaccines, in reality we should take great pride in the efficacy of vaccines because every year we know that vaccines save between 3 to 5 million lives just through standard immunisation” says Dr Ole Olesen, Executive Director of EVI.

“Vaccines can really have tremendous global health impact if done right, and particularly if you think about vaccines for low- and middle-income countries” says Meta Roestenberg, LUMC. Still, the future challenge is to develop methods, approaches, where vaccines can tackle highly complex diseases and be rapidly developed against newly emerging pathogens. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that, “vaccination, being a key barrier to external threats such as infections, is essential to support our healthcare systems resilience” says Sibilia Quilici, Executive Director of Vaccines Europe.

Another successful story is shared by Francesco Berlanda Scorza, GSK Global Health R&D Vaccines Head and GVGH Institute Director, when he talks about the collaborative development and subsequent roll-out of a new typhoid conjugate vaccine for lower income countries, which he describes “a massive success (with) a vaccine that has high efficacy in preventing typhoid fever in children, reduces the need of antibiotics, requires a single dose and it is very cost effective”.

Throughout the film, high-level representatives from each partnering institution share lessons learned, and best practices implemented that laid the ground for successful vaccine development programmes. For example, Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer at Moderna highlights how the mRNA platform “represents a true revolution in medicine” but becomes an even more meaningful tool when shared with the world, “to leverage our skills and expertise to accelerate public health impact”, as Hamilton Bennett, Senior Director of Vaccine Access and Partnerships at Moderna, adds. Supporting the concept of expertise leverage and synergy, Manuel Carrondo, Vice-president at iBET, emphasises the need for a “good infrastructure (…) that is able to take (innovation) from the labs which are more basic science-driven, into vaccines” with real world application.

In this documentary, we all emphasize the need for bringing different players to the table to maximise impact and showcase how it is possible that stakeholders worldwide can overcome barriers and create synergies by working together. “If you want to get it right, you have to get all of these people around the table.” confirms Dr Roestenberg.

According to Ole Olesen, one essential lesson learned is that “openness, collaboration and sharing of resources and data is really key to a rapid success, and a rapid development of vaccines”. This is what we stand for with #unitedforvaccines: we need all hands-on deck when it comes to rapidly develop and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for people who need it the most.


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