Vaccines in a hurry

Christian Søborg, Kåre Mølbak, T. Mark Doherty, Peter Ulleryd, Tim Brooks, Claudine Coenen, Ben van der Zeijst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Preparing populations for health threats, including threats from new or re-emerging infectious diseases is recognised as an important public health priority. The development, production and application of emergency vaccinations are the important measures against such threats. Vaccines are cost-effective tools to prevent disease, and emergency vaccines may be the only means to prevent a true disaster for global society in the event of a new pandemic with potential to cause morbidity and mortality comparable to the Spanish flu, the polio epidemics in the 1950s, or the SARS outbreak in 2003 if its spread had not been contained in time. Given the early recognition of a new threat, and given the advances of biotechnology, vaccinology and information systems, it is not an unrealistic goal to have promising prototype vaccine candidates available in a short time span following the identification of a new infectious agent; this is based on the assumption that the emerging infection is followed by natural immunity. However, major bottlenecks for the deployment of emergency vaccine are lack of established systems for fast-track regulatory approval of such candidates and limited international vaccine production capacity. In the present discussion paper, we propose mechanisms to facilitate development of emergency vaccines in Europe by focusing on public-private scientific partnerships, fast-track approval of emergency vaccine by regulatory agencies and proposing incentives for emergency vaccine production in private vaccine companies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3295-3298
Number of pages4
Issue number25-26
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency vaccines
  • Emerging infections
  • Fast-track vaccine production
  • Threats


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