Pandemic Preparedness

Achieving Equitable Access to Vaccines: From Policies to Provisions

Speaker: Julia Barnes-Weise, Executive Director of the Global Healthcare Innovation Alliances Accelerator

Moderator: Ashveena Gajeelee

On October 17, 2018, Julia Barnes-Weise, Executive Director of the Global Healthcare Innovation Alliances Accelerator (GHIAA)) a non-profit organization spun out of a program in Public Policy at Duke University, and a Senior Consultant to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), spoke at the Harvard Law School. This event was jointly organized by Global Access in Action and the Petrie Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Bioethics, and Biotechnology as part of the speaker series.

Julia Barnes-Weise’s presentation on “Achieving Equitable Access to Vaccines: From Policies to Provisions” focused on the mission of CEPI which is to ‘accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable access to these vaccines for affected populations during outbreaks’. She detailed the strategic objectives of CEPI as creating a global coalition of public, private, philanthropic and civil society organizations; stimulating, financing and coordinating vaccine development for emerging infectious diseases; identifying priority threats and act when market forces fail to drive needed development; building capabilities for rapid response to unknown threats; moving vaccine candidates through late preclinical studies to proof of concept and safety in humans before epidemics begin, and funding the development of platforms designed to accelerate the availability of epidemic vaccines.

The discussion moderated by Ashveena Gajeelee from GAiA was oriented on the challenges faced by CEPI and the international community in defining equitable access in particular for a specific incentive program. CEPI evolving definition includes that “appropriate vaccines are available when and where they are needed to end an outbreak or curtail an epidemic, and that they are accessible to all populations that need them, without financial constraints, to achieve that objective. …..once a vaccine is licensed, price should not limit necessary access to a vaccine it has funded while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of vaccine manufacturing and distribution”.

Against the background of the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the WHO meeting to decide whether this outbreak meets the criteria for a public health emergency of international concern, Julia Barnes-Weise explained that the access to vaccines policy was being revised by CEPI to, inter alia, align it with their goals and mission, simplify the document to improve its clarity and include the considerable input from its stakeholders. The consultation process is ongoing and the revised policy document should be finalized by the end of the year. CEPI’s agreements for vaccine and platform development include flexible access provisions which can include step-in rights, Trusted Partner mechanisms, and data transparency; the management of IP; and bringing on board the concerns from different partners. The main issues discussed during the Q&A session were: how to balance the achievement of CEPI’s mission and goals and investment of public money with the needs of different types of partners in a sustainable way. Another challenge is to do this in an expedited manner.

For more information please go to

Estimating the cost of vaccine development against epidemic infectious diseases: a cost minimisation study, Dimitrios Gouglas, Tung Thanh Le, Klara Henderson, Aristidis Kaloudis, Trygve Danielsen, Nicholas Caspersen Hammersland, James M Robinson, Penny M Heaton, John-Arne Røttingen






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *