Access to Vaccines Index: introducing the first principles
The Access to Vaccines Index methodology is currently being developed, with support from stakeholders and vaccine experts. Its first principles will be introduced on 20 May in Amsterdam. The first Access to Vaccines Index is planned for publication early in 2017.
Vaccines have been included in the scope of the Access to Medicine Index since its first edition in 2008. “Drawing on insights gathered from our past research, and in response to stakeholder calls for deeper analysis here, we are focusing the new Index only on vaccines,” says Jayasree K. Iyer, Head of Research at the Access to Medicine Foundation. “This will enable us to dive more deeply into the key issues, and single out the practices that make the most difference to this immensely important health intervention.”
The immunisation gap
Vaccination saves millions of lives each year – yet 1.5 million children die annually due to vaccine-preventable diseases such as diarrhoea. In April 2015, the WHO warned that progress towards global vaccination targets set for 2015 is far off-track. The ongoing Ebola crisis has raised awareness of key barriers limiting the use of vaccines: from the need for strong national health systems to roll-out administration programmes; to the complexity of the R&D and manufacturing processes.
“Increasing access to vaccines requires collaborative effort, including from governments, donors, the global health institutions – and the companies that develop and manufacture vaccines,” says Wim Leereveld, Founder and CEO at the Access to Medicine Foundation. “The Access to Medicine Index triggers change in the industry. It’s good to see a new, more targeted version of this tool being developed.”
Support from stakeholders
The Access to Vaccines Index follows a series of feasibility studies carried out by the Access to Medicine Foundation over the past few years, each focused on the role of industry and a specific aspect of access to medicine. The possibility of an “Access to Vaccines Index” was received by stakeholders with strong interest:
“An Access to Vaccines Index could play a positive role in promoting good practice in relation to ensuring greater access to vaccines.” – GAVI
“UNICEF has a strong belief behind increasing transparency, not just as a means to an end but as an end in itself. We welcome tools to do this and an Access to Vaccines Index can help to increase transparency across a range of topics to do with vaccines.” – UNICEF
In Q1 2015, the Access to Medicine Foundation was proud to be awarded a grant by the Dutch Postcode Lottery for making the Access to Vaccines Index a reality.
The drivers behind the Access to Vaccines Index and its first principles will be introduced by Jayasree K. Iyer at the annual VAX 1-2-1 conference on 20 May in Amsterdam. The Foundation is currently developing the methodology for the Vaccines Index, supported by our Expert Review Committee (ERC) and key specialists in access to vaccines. The methodology will be published in Q4 2015.