Gaidar Forum experts discuss vaccine production and vaccination campaigns

The expert discussion, Increasing the Effectiveness of the National Immunization System, was held on January 17, as part of the Ninth Gaidar Forum. The participants considered the best scenarios for organizing effective vaccination programs. Another important question was how to expand the national vaccination calendar to meet the current challenges.

The moderator, Executive Director of the Effective Healthcare Platform, Managing Partner of the Alliance Consulting Alexander Plakida said in his opening remarks that the spread of infectious diseases and the development of the national vaccination had been raised at the forum before. That was the reason why this project was started.

The next speaker, Andrei Govorun, also from Alliance Consulting, talked about his research, aimed at developing a model for assessing the economic burden of a disease and the effect of vaccination and testing the model on specific kinds of diseases. He showed the results of the research, of Rotavirus disease and HPV. The specialist showed that these infections cost about 20 billion rubles per year, and concluded that part of this burden could be eliminated through vaccination. 

After the presentation of the research, Director of the Department of Medical Care for Children and Obstetrics Service Yelena Baibarina noted the importance of making such models in reducing the death rate. She pointed out the need to enhance local vaccine production. This, in her opinion, will lead to lower costs and a greater impact of vaccines. 

“We shouldn’t pinch pennies when it comes to research," Head of RANEPA Economic Theory and Policy Department, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Abel Aganbegyan said during the discussion. Any decision requires high-quality preparation. “We seriously underfund our healthcare,” the expert said, underlining the importance of estimating the effect of a vaccination. As for the local vaccine production, we need specific actions, not words, he said. He proposed introducing liability for refusing to vaccinate. 

Irina Mikheyeva, Head of the Immunologic Prophylaxis Laboratory at the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology under the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), pointed out the retrospective nature of the model under discussion, since factors such as providing children under three years with free medication were not taken into account when it was built. She also suggested setting up an independent advisory group to expand the national vaccination calendar. In response to this proposal, Natalia Kostenko, Deputy Head of the Healthcare Ministry Department of Science, Innovation Development and Management of Biomedical Health Risks, noted that the Ministry is calling a meeting next week to set up the group.

President of Nanolek Vladimir Khristenko said that the question of vaccinations that are not on the national calendar remains pending. He also supported the expansion of the vaccination calendar. 

As a result of the discussion, the experts agreed on the need to create models for assessing the economic burden of a disease and the effect of vaccination, on the importance of local vaccine production for healthcare and for the national economy in general, and on the need to set up an independent vaccination group.

The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

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The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Novartis, Johnson&Johnson, RZD, MSD, AstraZeneca, the ACIG Group of Companies, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Russian Agricultural Bank, Pharmstandard JSC, Microsoft; O1 Group, Unilever, EY, Russian Brewers’ Union, Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners and RVC.

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