Everyone knows that vaccines save lives, but the numbers are still impressive. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, more than five million lives were saved by vaccinations supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). With the pneumococcal, rotavirus, and HPV vaccines rolling out in many countries, even more could be saved in the next decade.
Experts from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the U.S. Government, and Sanofi Pasteur spoke last week at Vaccines: the Best Shot for Our Health and Economy. The theme running through all of the presentations was the need for sustained support of vaccines—from basic science research, to development, to delivery to the people who need them most. In addition, more public-private partnerships and structures to reduce risk to companies developing vaccines are needed.
Speakers emphasized the benefits of U.S. investment in vaccines: it saves lives in the U.S. and around the world, and also saves money by averting future health care costs. Though many vaccine-preventable diseases no longer have a daily presence in the U.S., preventing them in other parts of the world keeps America safe from their reintroduction. Support of international vaccination programs also raises national security by contributing to international development efforts and improving regard for the U.S. abroad.
This event was co-hosted by the Global Health Council, Research!America, and the ONE Campaign. It was the first in a new series, Securing a Healthier Future with Vaccines. Visit the Global Health Council website to learn about future events.