The Task Force for Global Health’s Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) was launched in 2013 to create sustainable, seasonal influenza vaccination programs in low- and middle-income countries. This important work not only protects communities from the annual impact of influenza, but also builds the vaccine delivery systems and capacity to prevent and respond to pandemics. The world saw this play out during the COVID-19 pandemic, when countries with seasonal influenza programs were able to tap into and leverage these systems, deploying vaccines efficiently and effectively. PIVI then served as the framework for the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Program (CoVIP), a partnership between The Task Force and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which has successfully supported 49 low- and middle-income countries to deploy and evaluate COVID-19 vaccines with the ultimate aim of establishing sustainable systems for adult immunization programs.
As a result of the pandemic, for the first time in history every country in the world has a vaccine delivery system in place to support people of all ages. To build on this momentum, the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction will become the Partnership for International Vaccine Initiatives.
This new name reflects PIVI’s evolution, encompassing various global vaccination programs and pandemic preparedness initiatives. Dr. Joseph Bresee, Director of The Task Force’s Respiratory Virus Prevention and Preparedness programs, shares the reasons behind the name change, and gives insights into PIVI’s broader mission, objectives, and impact on global health.
PIVI’s wide-ranging expertise and experience in pandemic preparedness and its extensive global presence make it a valuable ally in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
1. What’s the reason for the expanded portfolio and the PIVI name change?
The transformation of “Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction” to “Partnership for International Vaccine Initiatives” marks a new chapter in The Task Force’s contributions to global health. With a focus on broader vaccination programs and pandemic preparedness, PIVI continues to strive to make a significant impact in protecting global populations from infectious diseases.
The Respiratory Virus Prevention and Preparedness programs, of which PIVI is a component program, have grown to include a wide range of activities that span research, development, evaluation, and access to vaccines (PIVI, CoVIP), and have recently extended their efforts to surveillance strengthening and other vital public health issues, including our Strengthening Outbreak Notification and Response initiative (SONAR). SONAR, in partnership with The Global Fund and Africa CDC, works with low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their efforts to establish comprehensive, coordinated surveillance systems.
The decision to change PIVI’s name was prompted by its evolving work and increased focus on vaccine initiatives beyond influenza. The Partnership for International Vaccine Initiatives reflects the expanded scope of work, which now includes diverse vaccines, like COVID-19. The term “partnership” remains integral to the name, symbolizing the collaborative nature of PIVI’s work with countries and global stakeholders in pursuit of common goals.
2. Which specific diseases and issues is your team focused on?
Although the word “influenza” is no longer part of the name, it remains a vital public health concern and a key focus of PIVI. The virus is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of hospitalizations annually worldwide. Moreover, it poses the most significant threat for future global pandemics. Influenza vaccine programs are pivotal in building adult vaccination readiness and safeguarding against other vaccine-preventable diseases.
As PIVI expands its efforts, it will continue making the decision to focus on areas that are based on public health priorities, its internal expertise, and ensure it is complementing the work of other stakeholders. While the focus remains on existing vaccines and ensuring their optimal utilization, PIVI is enthusiastic about new vaccine technologies, particularly Respiratory Syncytial Virus (also known as RSV) vaccines, as they align with the program’s capabilities and address global health threats.
With its expanded scope, PIVI seeks to engage a broader range of partners and collaborators. By documenting its work, sharing knowledge, and participating in global events like the United Nations General Assembly, PIVI aims to foster new collaborations and amplify its impact in global health.
3. How do you measure success?
PIVI’s core metric for success is a world where all countries have impactful and sustainable vaccination programs for influenza and other life-saving vaccines, accessible to all age groups. Additionally, PIVI aims to ensure that every country is equipped to deploy vaccines rapidly and effectively in the event of an epidemic or pandemic. This vision of universal preparedness and accessibility is the ultimate measure of PIVI’s success.