Access to Vaccines Index: introducing the first principles

Access to Vaccines Index

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. Its 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.

First principles

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.

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About the Access to Vaccines Index

The 2017 Access to Vaccines Index will provide an initial baseline of industry activity regarding access to vaccines. It will examine where and how companies are already taking action, and bring good practices to the attention of other companies and stakeholders working in the vaccines space. These organisations will be able to use the Index to inform priorities and strategies, and to clarify where new incentives are needed to spur greater positive change. During 2016, the Foundation’s research team will analyse the data captured by the first Access to Vaccines Index, which will be published early in 2017. The Access to Vaccines Index is funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

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About the Access to Medicine Foundation

The Access to Medicine Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands. It aims to advance access to medicine in low- and middle-income countries by stimulating and guiding the pharmaceutical industry to play a greater role in improving access to medicine. The Foundation is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UK Department for International Development. For ten years, the Foundation has been building consensus on the role for the pharmaceutical industry in improving access to medicine and vaccines. It published its first benchmark of industry activity in this area in 2008, in the first Access to Medicine Index. The fifth Access to Medicine Index will be published in 2016.

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