Each year, World Immunisation Week places the spotlight on the achievements made in recent decades in rolling out life-saving vaccines to the people that need them the most, saving millions of lives in the process. Innovation in vaccines has brought us seismic changes in public health in the last 50 years. Smallpox was eradicated, we are on the verge of defeating polio, and millions of lives have been saved thanks to the roll-out of immunisation programmes across the world. In fact, immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective means to help children grow into healthy adults.
Update – read the articles published so far!
A key theme of World Immunisation Week is a call to expand the coverage of immunisation programmes, because an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improved. And this is only talking about the rollout of existing vaccines. Imagine what could be achieved if we were to make breakthroughs on the development of an effective TB, HIV or malaria vaccine. It would change global public health as we know it.
That is why, this World Immunisation Week, we are focusing on the next generation of vaccines – the drugs that exist only in the mind of a scientist or which are being trialled as we speak. To understand what the latest state of vaccine research is, we decided to talk to the people that know best – the researchers, advocates and colleagues who work at the coalface of vaccine research.
Each day throughout World Immunisation Week, we will be featuring guest articles and interviews with partner organisations and Product Development Partnerships, to find out what is coming down the development pipeline, and to learn how we could support and accelerate the work that they do. Global health innovation – like the creation of new vaccines – is dependent on long-term political and financial support, but could go a long way to delivering a world with diseases of poverty. How can the global health community drive forward the R&D agenda to bring on-stream the next generation of vaccines that can truly close the immunisation gap, saving millions of lives in the process?
So, keep an eye out on the blog for the first World Immunisation Week article coming tomorrow, to be published at lunchtime!