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November 2017
PATIENT CARE AND SCIENCE
Weighing in on HHS Report on Vaccine Innovation

The Department of Health and Human Services is developing a report on prioritization for vaccine research and development efforts, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act.

The report is expected to address barriers to innovation and potential solutions, and methods to identify priority pathogens for vaccine R&D.

IDSA made the following recommendations in a comment letter to HHS:

  • While several methods for optimizing vaccine prioritization exist, no method is perfect and a panel of experts is necessary to determine the US government’s approach.
  • Novel incentives should be developed for companies developing less economically viable vaccines.
  • Lack of epidemiological data for many vector-borne diseases make assessing economic and public health value difficult.
  • Steps need to be taken to address both access barriers for vaccines as well as vaccine hesitancy.
  • Therapeutic and preventive vaccines need to be considered using different criteria.
  • A universal influenza vaccine that confers protection for longer than one year should be a top priority for vaccine developers.
  • Pregnant women and HIV infected persons are underrepresented targets for vaccine studies, and researchers need more guidance on how to safely conduct studies with these patient groups.

IDSA will continue working with HHS to emphasize the public health benefits of vaccines, encourage investment in this area, and inform HHS’s vaccine prioritization efforts.

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