Today, the British Society for Immunology launches our Celebrate Vaccines report, Protecting The World, to champion the leading contribution that the UK has made to vaccine research and how this has improved global public health.
In the report, the UK’s significant history of vaccine research, from Edward Jenner’s development of the smallpox vaccine, is explored, right up to the present day work to create a vaccine against COVID-19. It also explains the importance of bringing these vaccines from the lab to the people that need them by citing the incredible work being done by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: since 2000, across the 73 countries they have operated in, Gavi has immunised over 760 million children which has saved an estimated 13 million lives.
The report champions the prolific work done by the immunology community, which puts the UK at the number 1 spot in the G7 in terms of impact and influence of research and illustrates the powerhouse nature of UK immunology by showing that 14% of immunity papers in the G7 are published here, despite only having 9% of the population. But it also lays out the challenges that vaccine research in the UK faces if it is going to be able to remain a global leader, and discusses obstacles faced in the vaccine development pipeline that must be overcome.
As recent events have shown, the globalised nature of the world today opens us up to the threat of diseases like COVID-19 spreading far more quickly than they would have done previously. But such globalisation also allows us to foster international scientific collaboration to an extent that has never been achieved before. Much of this excellent cross-borders work occurs in vaccinology and the Protecting The World report highlights some of the vaccine networks that make such co-operation possible.
The British Society for Immunology hopes to use this report to engage with both policy and public audiences about the importance of supporting UK vaccine research to improving long-term global health. Our thanks go to all members of our immunology and vaccine research community who contributed their expert opinions towards this report. This report is part of our wider Celebrate Vaccines campaign to champion the critical role of vaccination and vaccine research in advancing global health. You can find out more at www.celebratevaccines.com.
We have set up a social media toolkit with a range of resources you can use to show your support for the report. Follow @britsocimm for updates during the day and join the conversation with the official hashtags #ProtectingTheWorld and #CelebrateVaccines.