With a COVID-19 vaccine getting closer, Asia House partnered with Pfizer to convene leading industry and policy figures to discuss the role of global collaboration in developing an international vaccination programme, and the challenges that need to be overcome.
The roundtable – held as the world reacts to Pfizer’s vaccine breakthrough – focused on three key areas: the development stages of vaccines; the regulation and roll out challenges; and the issue of public trust in vaccination.
Janine Small, Regional President of International Developed Markets – Vaccines Division, Pfizer, gave an update on Pfizer’s vaccine and took questions on a range of issues, from concerns about the speed of the vaccine’s development to the logistical challenges around distribution.
Tim Colley, International Director, Vaccine Task Force, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), struck a cautious tone, noting an array of challenges that still need to be resolved, including regulatory processes and the legal implications of transferring vaccines between countries. Masaru Iwasaki, Program Director of AMED Project for Advanced Drug Discovery and Development and the Vice President of University of Yamanashi, shared a Japanese perspective on the policy and public health issues surrounding vaccination.
The roundtable also heard compelling insights from Heidi Larson, Director, Vaccine Confidence Project, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who highlighted the importance of building public trust around any potential vaccine.
Other issues raised by participants in the off-the-record discussion, chaired by Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence, included the business models that need to be developed in support of a global vaccine roll-out; the community engagement approaches needed to build public trust in vaccination; and the broader lessons the world has learned when it comes to dealing with pandemics.
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