THE VACCINE RACE
One of The Task Force’s programs took center stage this year with the public’s growing interest in vaccine development. Our Brighton Collaboration, the largest global organization of scientific experts on vaccine safety, a network of more than 850 people, assesses the safety of vaccine candidates for emerging infectious diseases. With the onset of COVID-19, the team pivoted current vaccine safety assessments to COVID-19 vaccine development, providing safety assessment tools for vaccine developers to use and monitor safety results during clinical trials.
At one point, there were approximately 300 vaccine candidates in various stages of development, a situation Brighton Collaboration Director Robert Chen, MD, called unprecedented given the scale and the speed of the effort.
Photo caption: Task Force staff member Lura Daussat receives her first COVID-19 vaccination.
“All the stakeholders are doing their best to minimize any risks ahead of introduction; but rare or delayed adverse events will only be visible post-introduction. With potentially multiple COVID-19 vaccines being used, it will be important to track who receives what vaccine and what the results are…Vigilance is imperative as we have never done anything this large on a global basis before.”
Learn how vaccines journey from manufacturing to people
To help countries prepare, The Task Force has worked with partners to leverage existing influenza programs’ infrastructure to speed the journey from labs to patients. Our Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) routinely helps countries like Mongolia, Albania, and Lao PDR prepare for seasonal influenza and other epidemic threats through readiness assessments, technical assistance, and logistics.
Using this framework, The Task Force will support up to 50 low- and middle-income countries to prepare for, deliver, and evaluate their COVID-19 vaccination programs, by helping develop plans and build capacity to receive and rapidly administer vaccines, and monitor and evaluate the roll-out, including timeliness, safety, and effectiveness. With country partners, the team redesigned influenza tools and technical assistance to aid pandemic response while increasing influenza vaccination and efforts to prevent a flu pandemic.