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IOM Issues Review Of National Vaccine Strategy, Recommends Improving Global Vaccine Access

To strengthen the U.S.’ national vaccine strategy, the country “needs to establish a permanent group that advises the government on vaccine safety and spend more money to address safety concerns about vaccines,” according to a report released Friday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Reuters reports.

The IOM’s report is based on a review of HHS’ National Vaccine Plan, “which sets the national agenda for protecting Americans from vaccine-preventable illness,” the news service writes. The authors of the report “said the revised plan also should include a strategy to speed the development of high-priority vaccines, and expand funding for safety research and monitoring – including the development of a national communications strategy to bolster public confidence in vaccines,” Reuters writes (Steenhuysen, 12/11).

Another goal of the National Vaccine Plan is to “[i]ncrease global prevention of death and disease through safe and effective vaccination,” according to an IOM report brief. “The committee recommends that the National Vaccine Plan call for U.S. federal agencies to support immunization capacity-building in an effort to implement new vaccines in low to middle income countries,” according to the brief. “U.S. federal agencies also should provide the expertise and financial resources necessary to incorporate new vaccines, strengthen immunization infrastructure, and achieve higher levels of vaccination” (12/11).

The plan also called for researchers to work together on the development of a single vaccine that would offer protection against all types of influenza, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report writes. “Currently, vaccine development is left to the interests of individual researchers, rather than a central committee, and improved coordination is essential, the report notes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs more resources to develop a research agenda, it says” (Reinberg, 12/11).

Wall Street Journal Examines Deal Between GlaxoSmithKline, Intercell To Develop Needle-Free Vaccines

The Wall Street Journal reports on a deal between GlaxoSmithKline and Intercell “to develop needle-free vaccines delivered through a patch, a technology that could broaden vaccine use by eliminating irksome needle jabs and the need for vaccine to be refrigerated.”

“Finding ways to deliver vaccines without a needle and syringe has been a goal of public-health officials and drug companies for some time,” the newspaper continues. “In developed countries, this type of vaccine could convince more needle-shy consumers to get vaccinated. In the developing world, needle-free vaccines could have even greater advantages. They wouldn’t need the refrigeration that most needle-and-syringe shots do – something that limits vaccine use in countries where electricity isn’t always available. Theoretically, a patient could even apply the patch by himself, which could be useful in places where there are few doctors or nurses, Thomas Lingelbach, chief operating officer of Intercell, said in a phone interview” (Whalen, 12/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.