• Open Access

Pandemic influenza vaccines: meeting the supply, distribution and deployment challenges

Authors


The European Vaccine Manufacturers (EVM) Influenza Working Group, Contact via EVM Secrétariat, Rue du Trône 108, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium. E-mail: info@evm-vaccines.org

Abstract

An influenza pandemic will place an enormous strain on the world’s vaccine production, distribution and administration systems. Following a pandemic declaration, industry’s priority will be to deliver as much vaccine in as short a timeframe as possible. In respect to this challenge, manufacturers have successfully developed antigen-sparing strategies and significantly increased production capacity, with further growth planned assuming ongoing rising demand for seasonal vaccines. The combination of these factors has the potential to closer meet global needs for vaccine supply than ever before through increased availability of pandemic and pre-pandemic vaccines. The demonstration of cross-clade reactivity with H5N1 viruses makes the concept of pre-pandemic stockpiling and vaccination a reality for this subtype. Ensuring these vaccines are made available in a timely fashion to those who need them will present significant challenges. For local authorities, national governments and international organisations this means defining vaccine allocation and procurement processes as well as strengthening, and where necessary establishing, the critical health systems and infrastructure required for vaccine deployment. For vaccine producers this means addressing the technical and logistical issues associated with supply. This includes working with regulators to streamline key procedures, including generic labelling and batch release, while establishing flexibility in supply formats, including bulk and finished products, to maximise the speed of delivery. Similarly, the deployment of large quantities of vaccines in an emergency situation requires appropriate transport infrastructure and the distribution of associated medical supplies. As well as addressing these issues, specific consideration must be given to the logistics and storage aspects associated with stockpiling pre-pandemic vaccines. Finally, mutually agreed contractual arrangements between manufacturers and governments or international institutions represent the best approach toward addressing supply challenges and assisting vaccine producers meet national and international demand. To be effective, these contracts should be based on accurate forecasts, clearly defined vaccination strategies and the capabilities of public health infrastructure.

Ancillary