As we celebrate World Health Day today, it is an opportunity to remember that vaccines represent one of the most important global health investments. The investment of time, money and dedication has brought enormous benefits to the world.
According to the World Health Organization, immunizations save an estimated 2.5 million lives every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. Biotechnology is helping us improve existing vaccines and create new vaccines against infectious agents.
Unfortunately, policy decisions, media reporting and public attitudes and beliefs based on incomplete knowledge, or even completely false information, can add barriers and starve resources that result in slower development and approval of improved and new vaccines.
Delays in bringing new vaccines to patients mean that lives are needlessly loss. And, false information that leads to a fear of vaccines leads to disease and suffering that could have been very easily prevented.
We must remember the benefits and potential of biotechnology, including vaccines, and advocate for policies that enable the industry to research effectively and develop new life-saving therapies and preventions.