Humanity has made extraordinary progress in the fight against infectious diseases due in large part to Vaccines. Unfortunately, the benefits from vaccines have not been equitably distributed among the world’s population. If vaccine-preventable diseases are going to be controlled or eliminated, we must increase access to vaccines for developing countries by establishing the necessary delivery systems, as well as continuing to improve the efficacy and safety of vaccines, developing new ones and developing and implementing better ways to deliver them.
Since the development of the first vaccine, vaccines have greatly improved the health of populations around the world. In order to increase impact and the use of vaccines we need to assist countries in developing the systems and policies to guide vaccination, develop new vaccines for emerging pathogens like Lassa and MERS, and work to improve vaccines for pathogens such as the constantly changing influenza. The affordability of new vaccines can also be a challenge to both developing and middle-income countries. Despite the safety of vaccines, the growing hesitancy to vaccinate is enabling the resurgence of diseases like measles for which the vaccine is both highly effective and quite safe. Addressing these concerns, while providing the actual safety data, is needed to increase acceptance of vaccines in these settings.
Working with our partners, we work on specific vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccine safety, vaccine hesitancy and implementing the necessary delivery systems so that vaccines are delivered to those who need them.
The Brighton Collaboration uses rigorous scientific methodology to ensure that vaccine manufacturers and scientists have thorough guidelines and best practices for producing and assessing the safe vaccines. Brighton Collaboration produces guidelines on reporting and investigating the incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines.
Our Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) helps middle- and low- income countries develop seasonal influenza programs so that they have the tools and expertise to conduct routine vaccination programs, targeting those most vulnerable such as front line health workers, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children. This is a key step in strengthening their health systems and preparing countries for the next influenza pandemic. As the secretariat for the Global Funders Consortium for Universal Influenza Vaccine Development, we work with funders and influenza and vaccine experts to identify the challenges and roadblocks to the development of an improved, and ultimately a universal flu vaccine that will prevent all strains of flu, ending the need to develop a new vaccine for every influenza season.
As the world nears the eradication of polio, we have a rapid-response team, the Polio Eradication Surge Capacity Support Team, that can quickly provide additional resource to address an outbreak of a new vaccine derived polio case anywhere in the world by providing vaccinations, surveillance, and assessing the extent of the outbreak.
Certain immunodeficient people can excrete poliovirus after exposure to the live oral vaccine. To stop excretion and prevent the reintroduction of the virus within a population, the Polio Antivirals Initiative was developed with the mission to create antivirals to treat immunodeficient patients who are excreting vaccine virus to stop excretion of poliovirus and prevent the development of paralytic disease. The Task Force serves as the secretariat for this initiative.
Containment of poliovirus is essential to assure that virus is not reintroduced after eradication is achieved. The Task Force serves as the secretariat for the US National Certification commission that reviews the process and documentation of the safe handling and containment measures needed to minimize the risks of a facility-associated reintroduction of poliovirus.
In a collaborative effort to fight what could potentially be one of the deadliest infectious diseases by 2030, our Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination seeks to develop a community of practice for all hepatitis programs around the world. By being a consolidator of information for all things hepatitis, the Coalition provides guidelines and recommendations for hepatitis B and C vaccinations.
We spoke with The Task Force’s Voices for Vaccines Director Karen Ernst
Recent news of the possible complications of blood clots – or Thrombosis
Make vaccines safe and accessible for all
Mark McKinlay, PhD
Where We Work
To see where we do vaccine-related work, click here and look under Polio and PIVI. The other programs do not work in specific countries but on a global level.
Header photo caption: During a seasonal influenza vaccination campaign in Lao PDR, pregnant women, babies, and the elderly are prioritized as high-risk groups.