International experts stressed the importance of strengthening a regional approach to increase vaccine and health technology production capacities

3 Nov 2023
International experts stressed the importance of strengthening a regional approach to increase vaccine and health technology production capacities

Washington, D.C., Oct. 31, 2023 (PAHO) - With the presence of PAHO Director Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, the third meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Regional Platform to Advance the Manufacturing of COVID-19 Vaccines and Other Health Technologies in the Americas was held.

During the meeting, Dr. Barbosa expressed the need for collaboration between countries, institutions of research and the private sector. He said that a multi-sectoral approach is needed to help the region be better prepared for the next health crisis. He added that the way forward is to increase regional production capacity, something that can be achieved with projects that are "strategic, viable and sustainable".

PAHO´s Assistant Director, Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, pointed out that the region has the technical capacity and commitment that will allow progress to be made in strengthening productive capacities through a collaborative approach.

The Committee analyzed the activities carried out by PAHO and discussed the relevance of strengthening productive value chains and the importance of production sustainability, considering both their economic viability and their relevance from a public health and health safety perspective.

The President of the Advisory Committee and of Fiocruz, Dr. Mario Moreira, referred to the challenges related to innovation in vaccine production, highlighting the need to train highly qualified technical personnel and to have strengthened and better prepared regulatory authorities based on the experience of the pandemic. Dr. Moreira affirmed that progress must be made to have an articulated and regionally integrated production industry.

The Vice President of the Advisory Committee and Director of Pandemic Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Vaccine Research Center (NIAID, NIH), Dr. Karin Bok, emphasized that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean must work together to strengthen the value chains to produce vaccines and other health technologies within a framework of commitment and mutual trust.

The Regional Platform Advisory Committee was created in 2022 as a space for dialogue to advise PAHO on issues related to the development of strategies and the identification of priorities for the production and sustainable development of health technologies, and to share experiences and lessons learned in the region. The Committee is integrated by experts in health, science and technology, finance and industry, among others. This meeting was the closing of the activities of this group following the end of the international health emergency declared by the WHO. A new Advisory Group will be created whose objectives and scope will be adapted to the new regional context and will be convened following PAHO/WHO guidelines for the creation of Advisory Groups.

This event was supported by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).