What lessons the pharmaceutical industry has learned from COVID-19 vaccines?
With the health crisis caused by COVID-19 the pharmaceutical industry has intensified its efforts to develop new treatments, accelerate research, create better and faster diagnostics, and ensure that COVID-19 medical and vaccine supplies continue to be produced.
In this context, the webinar “What lessons the pharmaceutical industry has learned from COVID-19 vaccines” was held on Thursday, May 20. It was organized by ARAPF, in partnership with FIFARMA. The webinar included the participation of Mr. Carlos Espinal, director of the Global Health Consortium of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health at FIU and Mr. José Brea del Castillo, president of the Dominican Society of Vaccinology.
The experts shared thoughts on the challenges and lessons that the pharmaceutical industry has learned from the process of research, development and distribution of vaccines, taking into account the particularities of the region, the infection figures at a global level and the vaccination plans that are being developed.
The efficiency of this process needs to be highlighted, since “generally the immunization phases can last 10 to 12 years. With COVID-19, this was accelerated”, as indicated Mr. Brea del Castillo, when highlighting the role of research, collaboration and the abundant participation of volunteers in the clinical studies, which guaranteed the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
For this reason, emphasis is placed on the need to make visible that, although the development of vaccines took a short time, this did not affect the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. It also highlighted the importance for governments to develop a clear and transparent communication strategy, with greater leadership regarding vaccines, so that there is no room for doubt due to misinformation and an effective vaccination process can be achieved.
Another important factor is the vaccination plans that are being implemented in different countries. Taking into account that there are regions and countries where infection figures are striking, such as Latin America and India, the distribution of vaccines globally is not a factor that counteracts this problem. “There is inequity, 82% of high- and middle-income countries are accumulating the highest number of vaccines,” said Dr. Espinal.
Likewise, reference to the Dominican Republic case was made and Mr. Brea del Castillo gave a positive balance on it. Indeed, from the beginning of the vaccination plan, according to a survey, 68% of people were willing to get vaccinated and progress has been made regarding vaccination, which already includes pregnant women and young people from 18 years of age.
Finally, emphasis was placed on the unprecedent effort made by the industry. Thanks to research and previous studies on the virus, it was possible to go forward and subsequently vaccinate, in a safe and faster way, in comparison with other vaccines.
In addition, a clear and transparent communication must continue, to generate confidence in the vaccination process, so that efforts advanced by the industry can allow an effective and equitable vaccination. As commented Mr. Carlos Espinal: “Vaccination, not vaccines, will put an end to the pandemic”.
* The information contained in this document is a summary of the webinar that portrays the perspective of the experts and does not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts or opinions of FIFARMA or its members. Any content provided by our experts is of their opinion and is not intended to defame any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.