Health and Healthcare Systems

New initiative supports equitable regional vaccine manufacturing

Millions of lives around the world could be saved by increasing regional vaccine manufacturing capacity.

Millions of lives around the world could be saved by increasing regional vaccine manufacturing capacity. Image: Pexels.

Lora du Moulin
Global Health and Security Lead, World Economic Forum
Joe Lewis
Managing Director, Deloitte
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This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • Investing in equitable vaccine access is vital to protect global populations facing the ever-present and growing threat of pandemics.
  • The Regionalized Vaccine Manufacturing Collaborative (RVMC) will be established as a Global Initiative hosted at CEPI alongside regional leaders and partner organizations.
  • The RVMC Framework is an actionable toolkit that regions can use to scale manufacturing.

Millions of lives around the world could be saved by increasing regional vaccine manufacturing capacity. The Regionalized Vaccine Manufacturing Collaborative (RVMC), incubated at the World Economic Forum in partnership with Deloitte and co-chaired by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), will now be established as a Global Initiative hosted at CEPI.

This new Global Initiative will begin with an initial CEPI commitment of $15 million and be led by partner organizations including the Africa CDC, CEPI, Pan-American Health Organization, U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and the World Economic Forum in collaboration with both public and private sector leaders across regions. Dr Frederik Kristensen, former Deputy CEO of CEPI will assume the newly created role of RVMC Director. In this new capacity, RVMC will offer convening, thought capital, advocacy, matchmaking, catalyzing, clearinghouse, and other technical support services directly to and across regional manufacturing initiatives to enable their success.

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Recent research suggests that the risk of extreme pandemics like COVID-19 will increase three-fold in the coming decade with a 2% chance of a COVID-19-like pandemic in any given year with factors such as climate change increasing risk. Vaccines are a powerful tool for fighting pandemics and ultimately brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control.

There is a strong case for investing in appropriately scaled, regional vaccine manufacturing networks that are sustainable during non-pandemic times and able to surge during pandemic times.

Regions themselves have been taking the initiative to diversify vaccine manufacturing; the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing was launched in 2021, and Indonesia, India and Brazil championed regional diversification as part of their G20 Presidencies. RVMC is dedicated to ensuring such regionally-led efforts are successful.

The RVMC Framework for enhancing vaccine access through regionalized manufacturing ecosystems

Since its launch, RVMC has conducted expert interviews, convened regional and global leaders and documented best practices for establishing sustainable, commercially viable, regional vaccine manufacturing ecosystems.

Launch of the Regionalized Vaccine Manufacturing Collaborative on 17 January 2024. Left to right: Hon. José Manuel Barroso, Board Chair, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance ·        Minister Mathume Joseph Phaahla, Ministry of Health South Africa ·        Dr Victor Dzau: President, U.S. National Academy of Medicine ·        Minister Bandar Alkhorayef, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources ·        H.E. Jean Kaseya, Director General, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention ·        Lora du Moulin, Head of RVMC Secretariat, Global Health & Security Lead, World Economic Forum ·        Minister Vera Esperança Dos Santos Daves De Sousa, Ministry of Finance, Angola ·        Dr Richard Hatchett: Chief Executive Officer, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) ·        Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the World Trade Organization.
Launch of the Regionalized Vaccine Manufacturing Collaborative on 17 January 2024. Left to right: Hon. José Manuel Barroso, Board Chair, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance · Minister Mathume Joseph Phaahla, Ministry of Health South Africa · Dr Victor Dzau: President, U.S. National Academy of Medicine · Minister Bandar Alkhorayef, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources · H.E. Jean Kaseya, Director General, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention · Lora du Moulin, Head of RVMC Secretariat, Global Health & Security Lead, World Economic Forum · Minister Vera Esperança Dos Santos Daves De Sousa, Ministry of Finance, Angola · Dr Richard Hatchett: Chief Executive Officer, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) · Ambassador Guilherme Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the World Trade Organization. Image: World Economic Forum/Quentin Bassett.

The output of this work is the eight-pillar RVMC Framework that enables regions to strategically assess where they are and how to navigate the technical, market and financial challenges of expanding vaccine manufacturing capacity in collaboration with the private sector.

The Framework is flexible, recognizing that regions will develop and implement strategies in line with their own health needs and risks while adjusting to unique starting points, levels of ambition, and economic constraints of member countries.

The eight-pillar RVMC framework consists of:

  • Business models that are “right-sized” and capable of surging when needed.
  • Market shaping according to healthy market framework principles that support long-term viable pricing with predictable supply and demand.
  • Financial models to provide initial capital, de-risk vaccine manufacturing investments, support vaccine capacity expansion, vaccine market shaping, and advance purchase agreements.
  • R&D innovation to develop and advance a region’s vaccine manufacturing technology capabilities to address future pandemics.
  • Technology transfer and workforce development that efficiently, effectively, and repeatably transfer and operate vaccine manufacturing technologies with local workforces.
  • Supply chain and infrastructure that optimizes the supply of produced vaccines throughout a region with data-driven orchestration of in- and out-bound logistics and materials.
  • Regulatory harmonization to enable faster access to markets for vaccine manufacturers through mutual recognition and shared submission procedures without compromising the quality, safety, or efficacy of vaccines.
  • Governance regional cross-border processes, organizations, and policies to raise and resolve issues of vaccine stakeholders, build trust, and manage regional agreements consistently and fairly.
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What is the World Economic Forum doing about access to vaccines?

Regional collaboration offers potential benefits that often go beyond national or global approaches

Regions offer an effective and necessary addition to both national approaches that are unable to achieve economic scale, and global approaches that may be seen as too remote to make rapid decisions and drive equitable vaccine allocation. As a result, regional vaccine manufacturing capacity expansion programmes have been advanced by political leaders in countries that were left behind during COVID-19.

In Africa for example, the political leaders of all 55 African countries have endorsed the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing’s goal of locally producing 60% of the vaccines needed in the region by 2040. In Latin America the regional Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) launched the Regional Platform to Advance the Manufacturing of COVID-19 Vaccines and Other Health Technologies in the Americas to increase local vaccine production. Political leaders of the ASEAN region developed the Vaccine Security & Self-Reliance Strategic Action Plan to develop and produce local vaccines that address public health needs of the region.

Maximizing investment opportunities through regions

Regions also confer economic advantages that are generating new financial commitments. IFC scenario-modelling studies demonstrate that pooled regional vaccine markets have a benefit-cost ratio of up to six times more than individual country markets can today.

The social and financial investment opportunities that regions offer, have spurred a series of recent investments in vaccine manufacturing. These include: the European Commission MAV+ €134 million; Gavi $1.8 billion; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation $40 million for mRNA; and CEPI investments of up to $80 million to add South Africa’s Aspen, Senegal’s Institut Pasteur de Dakar and Indonesia’s Bio Farma to a growing global network of CEPI-backed vaccine manufacturers. Many international development banks are actively seeking to expand their investments in regional vaccine manufacturing programs, including the Asian Development Bank, European Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.

By advancing the political and financial commitments required to increase regional vaccine manufacturing around the world, RVMC will be well positioned to deliver broader and deeper support directly to regionally-led efforts to ensure they are successfully scaled. Now is the time for leaders to think globally, act locally, and implement regionally. The RVMC invites like-minded entities to join this important collaboration to increase equitable access to vaccines, strengthen global pandemic preparedness, and save lives.

The authors would like to thank the following for their invaluable contributions: Zubair Azad (Fellow, World Economic Forum); Shyam Bishen (Head, Centre for Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum); Fred Brown (RVMC Advisor, CEPI); Victor Dzau (President, US National Academy of Medicine); Richard Hatchett (CEO, CEPI); Joseph Lewis (Managing Director, Life Sciences Supply Chain Practice, Deloitte); Greg Reh (Deloitte Global Life Sciences & Health Care Leader); Niteen Wairagkar (RVMC Advisor, CEPI).

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