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Announcing the World Vaccine Congress in DC
April 3 – 6 2023. Walter E. Washington Convention Center
You might not be aware that this is happening in DC. For your convenience I selected excerpts so you can get an overview at a glance with links to speakers, agenda, sponsors, etc. I've also presented and linked some articles, in whole or in part from the Vaccine Nation industry news publication to give you a sense of what they write about.
More details are available at the World Vaccine Congress website.
R&D + Strategic Partnering For The Global Vaccine Industry
The Most Important Vaccine Event of The Year
The World Vaccine Congress is the largest, most established meeting dedicated to vaccines. From basic research to commercial manufacture, this one meeting covers the whole vaccine value chain.
If you are involved in vaccines or new to it because of the pandemic, this is the most important meeting you will be part of.
Uniting vaccine experts – sharing groundbreaking knowledge – tackling the pandemic.
For the past 23 years, the World Vaccine Congress Washington has evolved and grown into the leading vaccines congress globally, with hundreds of speakers, thousands of attendees and hundreds of networking opportunities.
During the sessions you will learn how cutting-edge research efforts can be integrated with
to produce more and better vaccines to the market.
With so much on show throughout these four days and unparalleled networking and learning opportunities, we’re confident that you will walk away from this year’s congress safe in the knowledge that your time has been well worth it.
WORLD VACCINE CONGRESS IS ALL ABOUT OPPORTUNITY
YOUR BEST SALES OPPORTUNITY IN 2023
World Vaccine Congress sponsorship delivers the greatest impact and visibility amongst thousands of industry visionaries, decision makers, influencers and press. Through our global reach, digital networking tools, and exceptional in-person events your brand has the opportunity to educate, empower and engage vaccines's most important audience.
COVID & Beyond
Next Generation Vaccines
Public Health and Policy
Acceptance & Uptake
Supply & Logistics
Assessment of Waste
Delivery & Distribution
Public Health and Policy
Acceptance & Uptake
Influenza & Respiratory
Hesitancy & Misinformation
Bioprocessing & Manufacturing
Vaccine Delivery Routes
Scientific Joint Venture
Emerging & Re-Emerging Diseases
Neglected Tropical Diseases
Highly Infectious Diseases
Explore the latest industry news from
After experts called for “transformational change” to the “epidemic countermeasures ecosystem” in March 2023, our interest has been drawn to an initiative by Economist Impact: The Vaccine Ecosystem Initiative. This is described by the group as an attempt to “promote a sustainable vaccine ecosystem” by “examining and reimagining elements critical for vaccine development, deployment, and adoption”. From the context of a global pandemic to the concerning epidemiological climate, the initiative explores current practices to define the future of vaccines at every stage.
Why an ecosystem?
The use of the word ecosystem is particularly effective with connotations of complexity and interconnectivity. From concept to shot in arm, ‘ecosystem’ evokes a sense of delicate dependency at every stage. Indeed, recent experiences have emphasised these relationships more than ever.
“Building an environment conducive to innovation can reinvigorate a previously undervalued field of science.”
5 key pillars
In a report published by Economist Impact, 5 key pillars are identified. For greater detail on each pillar, we recommend accessing the report here. In this piece we explore the pillars and invite you to share your thoughts on this framework.
Research and Development (R&D)
The first pillar covers the research process from the “earliest stages of laboratory research through the Phase III (human) clinical trials” and the regulatory oversight that is “necessary for supporting vaccine development and innovations”. It also addresses the R&D needed to support the delivery of vaccine services, such as disease surveillance, policies, and partnerships.
The second pillar is all things manufacturing, exploring the factors of “timely” processes, regulatory oversight, and “the use of good manufacturing practices at a scale necessary to meet demand”. It covers infrastructure, human resources and conditions, and strict quality control standards.
Procurement, pricing, and financing
The third pillar involves the policies, mechanisms, and partnerships behind vaccine purchasing and pricing. This includes the financing of R&D and implementation of immunisation programmes. Systems that “promote more equitable and faster access to vaccines” are of interest.
Distribution, logistics, and supply chain management
The fourth pillar covers the mechanisms that “enable safe distribution of vaccines”. This includes logistics, infrastructure, and systems. This pillar “recognises that consistently strong and resilient distribution networks, logistics capabilities, and global supply chain management” are needed for equitable and rapid protection of populations.
User acceptance and uptake
The fifth pillar explores the reasons that people choose to be vaccinated and the factors that enable them to access vaccination. This involves health literacy, education and awareness, and the ways that “public trust in vaccines” can be improved.
How well do you think these pillars represent the vaccine ecosystem, and what efforts do you think can be made in any or each of them to promote sustainable improvements?
The Immunisation Readiness Index
Building on this framework, the Vaccine Ecosystem Initiative will launch a new tool later this year, focused on “understanding the state of immunisation readiness”. The Immunisation Readiness Index assesses the “enabling environment for equitable and sustainable immunisation” for both routine and emergency vaccines. The Index identifies “opportunities for enhanced preparedness” by “qualitatively and quantitatively mapping” country-level immunisation policies.
“The Vaccine Ecosystem Initiative and the Immunisation Readiness Index provide evidence-based, actionable insights that stakeholders can implement to create a future that is more resilient to threats amenable to vaccination.”
After a meeting in March 2023, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) revised the roadmap for prioritising COVID-19 vaccines. This result is intended to “reflect the impact of Omicron and high population-level immunity” through infection and vaccination. WHO states that the roadmap “continues SAGE’s prioritisation of protecting populations at the greatest risk” from SARS-CoV-2 infection and its “focus on maintaining resilient health systems”.
Cost and context
The roadmap now considers “cost-effectiveness” of vaccination for lower-risk groups, such as healthy children and adolescents, in comparison with “other health interventions”. It also includes revised recommendations on boosters. SAGE Chair Dr Hanna Nohynek reflected that “much of the population” has either received vaccinations, been infected, or both. However, the roadmap “reemphasises the importance of vaccinating those still at-risk of severe disease”.
“Countries should consider their specific context in deciding whether to continue vaccinating low risk groups, like healthy children and adolescents, while not compromising the routine vaccines that are so crucial for the health and well-being of this age group.”
The roadmap presents a recommended prioritisation system for COVID-19 vaccination. The levels are high, medium, and low, and are “principally based on risk of severe disease and death”, consider “vaccine performance, cost-effectiveness, programmatic factors, and community acceptance”.
A study published in Nature Medicine in March 2023 explores the factors associated with so-called “vaccine fatigue”, with a specific focus on the recent vaccination campaigns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors state that vaccines are “likely to remain one of the essential tools”. We have developed vaccines that are now “widely available in many countries” and progress in vaccine development has been made. However, the authors acknowledge that vaccines can only be effective if people get vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, several behavioural factors threaten to undercut the advances in vaccine supply and development.”
Previous studies have identified vaccine hesitancy as an “obstacle” to primary vaccinations and decreasing “enthusiasm” for boosters. The study suggests that “vaccine fatigue” has emerged as a “growing concern for public health officials”. In fact, it implies that this is a re-emergence rather than a unique phenomenon, already familiar from the “influenza context”, where “suboptimal uptake has repeatedly resulted in many unnecessary deaths”.
“It is very likely that the failure to address vaccination hesitancy and fatigue could have serious public health consequences in the long run and, in turn, increase pressure on healthcare systems.”
Understanding COVID-19 vaccine fatigue through the study
The study addresses two “practically and theoretically relevant research questions”.
Should vaccination campaigns adopt similar or different strategies for primary and booster vaccinations?
What are the most relevant contextual features and the most effective interventions that may affect vaccine acceptance in future scenarios?
The aim of the study was to gather evidence for the design of “effective” campaigns in the context of the “heterogeneous immunisation status in the population” and “possible contextual contingencies”.
The researchers designed two conjoint experiments, which allowed them to manipulate “multiple attributes of a hypothetical scenario” and “measure the responses of participants considering all attributes jointly”. A literature review demonstrated that the most important factors for COVID-19 vaccine uptake were the properties of vaccines, communication, costs/incentives, and legal rules.
Fatigue and hesitancy
The authors note that vaccine fatigue, in addition to the challenge presented by vaccine hesitancy, is a “growing concern” for public health due to “waning immunity” and the requirements for booster vaccinations considering new variants. They suggest that in “many countries” the uptake of boosters has remained “below expectations”.
Although the definitions of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine fatigue remain unclear across literature and media communication, the study refers to both in a “broad sense as an umbrella term”. This term describes a “low or intermediate propensity to get vaccinated either for the first time (hesitancy) or repeatedly (fatigue)”. The term covers those who are “in a state of indecision or uncertainty” but also those who “oppose and refuse vaccination”. However, the authors acknowledge that “more narrow conceptions coexist”.
What does the study show?
The authors conclude that the results present “several actionable points”:
Test the design and instruments of vaccination campaigns with target groups
Keep the cost-free provision of vaccines and easy access to vaccination sites in which even seemingly trivial costs could be strongly discouraging
Promote community spirit and set measures to strengthen social cohesion and institutional trust in the long term
Consider moving from communicative mobilisation to more institutionalised bonus programmes with positive incentives for booster vaccinations in the long term, if budgetary constraints allow
Carefully assess the risks and benefits of stricter policy instruments involving legal requirements, such as vaccine passports and vaccine mandates, which bear a risk of backlash
Facilitate consensus-building among medical professionals and scientists by supporting research and making relevant evidence readily available
How might these actions be implemented in your community, and do you think will be effective in encouraging vaccine uptake or overcoming vaccine fatigue? We look forward to considering these questions and more at the World Vaccine Congress
In March 2023 the heads of the Quadripartite organisations working on One Health issued a call for greater global action for a safer world. WHO describes the call as “unprecedented”. The Quadripartite comprises four main agencies collaborating to achieve aims that cannot be achieved independently. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WHO, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) are all participating in this union.
A statement from the Quadripartite acknowledges recent health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, mpox, Ebola outbreaks, and “continued threats of other zoonotic diseases” as well as AMR challenges, and the consequences of climate change. These elements “clearly demonstrate the need for resilient health systems and accelerate global action”.
A call to action
The statement from the Quadripartite emphasises the need for “enhanced collaboration and commitment” to “translate the One Health approach into policy action in all countries”. The leaders called for the promotion and undertaking of the following “priority actions”:
Prioritise One Health in the international political agenda, increase understanding, and advocate for the adoption and promotion of the enhanced intersectoral health governance.
Strengthen national One Health policies, strategies, and plans.
Accelerate the implementation of One Health plans.
Build intersectoral One Health workforces.
Strengthen and sustain prevention of pandemics and health threats at source.
Encourage and strengthen One Health scientific knowledge and evidence creation and exchange.
Increase investment and financing of One Health strategies and plans.
“To build one healthier planet we need urgent action to galvanise vital political commitments, greater investment, and multisectoral collaboration at every level.”
How do you think these actions can be implemented at international and national levels, and what support should the Quadripartite be offering to encourage this? We look forward to hearing more about the importance of One Health approaches and how vaccination features into these at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington next week.
A study released in March 2023 in iScience suggests that COVID-19 infection was a greater factor than COVID-19 vaccination in observed changes to a patient’s menstrual cycle. The researchers identified “substantial public concern” related to “disruption of menstrual cycles”. However, the possible causes, such as vaccination, infection, pandemic-related stress, or lifestyle changes, remain “understudied”. Therefore, it is imperative that further investigation is carried out to gain the relevant knowledge for “advising women about the relative risk of experiencing menstrual disturbance when getting vaccinated against COVID-19 versus infected”.
Vaccines and menstruation
The authors suggest that prior to the pandemic, research into the relationship between vaccination and menstrual cycle health was limited to prophylactic typhoid, HPV, and hepatitis B vaccines. Since the pandemic and associated vaccination drive, prospective studies have found changes in cycle length for participants. Beyond cycle length, other studies have identified “various changes in regularity, duration, and volume”.
“While there is accumulating evidence that COVID-19 vaccination-related menstrual symptoms are associated with small and temporary changes in cycle length, there has been no quantitative assessment of the risk factors for menstrual disturbances following COVID-19 vaccination prior to widespread media attention.”
The paper contrasts the “emerging picture” of a “small effect of COVID-19 vaccine on cycle length” with research into the associations between infection and menstrual cycle changes. This is described as “scarce and inconsistent”.
“A study better powered to evaluate the independent association of SARS-CoV-2 and abnormal cycle changes is better needed to inform vaccination decisions.”
What does the study find?
Based on data collected in the UK “prior to widespread media attention” the study identified that “perceived menstrual cycle changes” after vaccination are “very common” in the context of “international pharmacovigilance standards” (over 10%). Specifically, these perceived changes are “increased for participants reporting a history of COVID-19 disease”, but “decreased among those who use combined contraceptives”.
Furthermore, the authors conclude that “vaccination alone does not lead to abnormal cycle parameters”, but COVID-19 is associated with an “increased risk” of reporting frequent cycles, prolonged periods, heavier flows, and more inter-menstrual bleeding. They acknowledge that the experiences of cycle changes after vaccination are “diverse”.
Facts and figures of the study
The study involved almost 5,000 vaccinated pre-menopausal participants, and the University of Edinburgh describes a “vast majority” of 82% who reported “no menstrual changes”. 6.2% reported “more disruption”, 1.6% reported “less disruption”, and 10.2% reported “other changes”
It is notable that of the 18% who reported changes, the risk was higher among those who smoked, had previously had COVID-19, or who were not using oestradiol-containing contraceptives. The authors then considered a wider population of 12,000 participants, which included participants who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as vaccinated participants.
“Vaccination alone did not show increased abnormal menstrual cycle factors.”
Is this enough?
The authors recognise that their study is limited, particularly in its reliance on people recalling previous menstrual experiences. Dr Jackie Maybin from the University of Edinburgh identifies a potential for “bias” in those who chose to complete the study.
“Nevertheless, our results are reassuring that COVID-19 vaccination does not cause concerning menstrual changes, and helpful for identifying people who might be at higher risk of experiencing menstrual disturbance.”
Did you observe menstrual changes following COVID-19 vaccination, or has this research encouraged you in the context of widespread media concern? Join us at the World Vaccine Congress next month to discuss COVID-19 vaccination with experts across the community.
After we reported in March 2023 that possibly critical data concerning the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market had been quietly released on GISAID, the story has developed with researchers and public health leaders challenging China for not sharing them sooner. With senior figures in WHO, including the Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, suggesting that the data “could have – and should have” been shared earlier, questions are being raised about the apparent Chinese obfuscation of global pandemic origin research.
Dr van Kerkhove’s “hell”
In a “condensed” interview with Science Dr Maria van Kerkhove outlined her frustrations at being unable to access sufficient data to draw conclusions about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that WHO had been “calling for any and all data” to be shared, echoing previous emphasis on WHO’s reliance on Member States’ cooperation.
Dr van Kerkhove indicated that these new data do confirm “what has been suspected”: “there were animals at the market that were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, that the market of course played a really important role”. However, questions remain about where the animals came from and what research was carried out in the early stages of the pandemic.
“None of that information is available.”
Displaying diplomatic caution, Dr van Kerkhove also addressed the tension surrounding lab leak or zoonotic origin. She stated that just because “all hypotheses are on the table” it “doesn’t mean that all hypotheses have equal weight”. She emphasised that WHO is “pushing for more information through SAGO”, including immediate sharing of animal-specific information. She described the sudden glimpse of new information as a challenge to China’s “credibility”.
“It is beyond infuriating and frustrating to be in this position…And that is scary as hell.”
Cooperation from China
Experts have long been demanding greater communication from and with China, including Dr Mike Ryan’s reminder that WHO requires its Member States to direct research. Professor George Gao, who Science suggests “sat on” the data, has been contacted by SAGO but apparently not engaged in dialogue. However, for Dr van Kerkhove, the scenes that are unfolding “in social media and in media” are deeply concerning. She hopes to see a conversation “playing out with a robust debate with everything on the table”.
“We don’t have the cooperation from China.”
The “continued fighting” and “politicisation” represents an unnecessary “distraction” from the task at hand, and is “unconscionable”, says Dr van Kerkhove
Why does it matter?
As we move into a fourth year of COVID-19, armed with evolving vaccine technology and surveillance, some might argue that it is time to abandon this seemingly fruitless pursuit. However, Dr van Kerkhove highlights the importance of “understanding the exact conditions in which this happened” in order to “get more refined” in our approach to prevention. In particular, she identifies a need to understand the specifics of the case in a country “that has excellent lab systems”, “fever surveillance” in place, and “capable scientists”.
Suggesting that “nobody knows” if we will ever know the origin of the pandemic, Dr van Kerkhove reckons that “anyone who speaks with absolute certainty really doesn’t know”. This “clue” is an important one, and one that she hopes to pursue further.
Who owns data?
Although WHO and public health officials have emphatically called for more transparency in data sharing, Science also considers the “appropriateness” of jumping on the data before it has been published in a paper by the Chinese researchers. Indeed, GISAID claimed in a statement on 21st March 2023 that the researchers who identified and analysed the data had been suspended for running “afoul” to the Access Agreement.
GISAID’s statement suggests that “select users” published a report in “direct contravention of the terms they agreed to” with specific emphasis on the “knowledge that the data generators are undergoing peer review assessment of their own publication”. Dr Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona represented the team of authors in a reply to GISAID. He presented email evidence of attempts at collaborations as well as reference to “multiple verbal entreaties” and Zoom messages to the Chinese team.
Consequently, GISAID has agreed to review the evidence, but the question of data ownership and permission continues to sound across media. Dr Jesse Bloom told Science that “all scientific data related to the early outbreak in Wuhan should be made available”.
“It’s frustrating that despite their now being two public analyses related to these data, the data are still not available.”
As we move further away from those first few months of the pandemic, how important do you think it is that we keep trying to understand its origins? What are your views on data sharing and international access?
Join us to discuss how lessons from COVID-19 shape preparations for future threats at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington 2023.