The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light the urgent need for equitable vaccine availability worldwide. In an effort to tackle poverty and infectious diseases through affordable vaccines, the European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) has appointed Professor Sam McConkey of the RCSI as its new head.
The EVI aims to support global vaccine development efforts, with a particular focus on diseases that disproportionately affect low and middle-income countries. To achieve this goal, the initiative fosters collaboration between academia, pharmaceutical companies, policymakers, donors, and other product development partnerships.
Key members of the EVI include the RCSI’s University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Heidelberg University, the Jenner Vaccine Foundation, and the Pasteur Institute. Professor McConkey, head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the RCSI, brings his expertise in general medicine, tropical medicine, and infectious diseases to his new role.
Reflecting on his appointment, Professor McConkey emphasized the crucial importance of equitable vaccine availability, and how the global distribution and uptake of Covid-19 vaccines have exposed existing inequalities. He believes that the faster development and success of Covid-19 vaccines highlight valuable lessons that can be applied to address these disparities in vaccine access.
Professor Cathal Kelly, vice-chancellor of the RCSI, stressed that equitable access to vaccines must be a top priority for everyone involved in healthcare policy, research, and provision. The RCSI is proud to be a member of the European Vaccine Initiative and extends its well wishes to Professor McConkey as he takes on the role of chair.
In addition to supporting vaccine development, the RCSI has made its own contributions to improving vaccine effectiveness. Their researchers identified insights into how the human body clock influences our immune response to vaccines. These findings have the potential to enhance future vaccine design and timing, ultimately boosting their effectiveness.
Q: What is the European Vaccine Initiative?
A: The European Vaccine Initiative (EVI) is an organization that aims to address global vaccine inequalities and develop affordable vaccines for diseases that disproportionately affect low and middle-income countries.
Q: Who is the new head of the EVI?
A: Professor Sam McConkey of the RCSI has been appointed as the head of the European Vaccine Initiative.
Q: Who are the key members of the EVI?
A: Key members of the EVI include the RCSI’s University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Biomedical Primate Research Centre, Heidelberg University, the Jenner Vaccine Foundation, and the Pasteur Institute.
Q: What is the focus of the EVI?
A: The EVI focuses on supporting global vaccine development efforts and addressing inequalities in vaccine distribution and uptake.
Q: What contributions has the RCSI made to vaccine effectiveness?
A: The RCSI has conducted research on how the human body clock influences our immune response to vaccines, with the aim of improving vaccine design and timing in the future.