Introducing New Vaccines in Developing Countries

Sonali Kochhar; Barbara Rath; Lea D Seeber; Gabriella Rundblad; Ali Khamesipour; Mohammad Ali


Expert Rev Vaccines. 2013;12(12):1465-1478. 

In This Article


Economically stabilized industrialized countries provide vaccine developers with the most financially advantaged markets for vaccines, but the largest burden of vaccine-preventable diseases lies within developing countries (Figure 1).[1] Successful funding of vaccine programs in developing countries requires the support of international organizations, or public or private funding agencies. In recent years, innovative partnerships such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation and the International Financing Facility for Immunisation have been established to provide reliable funding arrangements.[1] Some countries such as Brazil, India, Cuba, Vietnam and Indonesia have also invested in their own research institutions for the purpose of large-scale vaccine manufacturing. For the purposes of this study, we are defining 'developing country' based on the 2013 United Nations World Economic and Situation and Prospects.[2]

Figure 1.

Line in front of vaccination site in Batil, South Sudan.
Image courtesy of Petra Ruzickova, Médecins Sans Frontières.

A vaccine is a biological preparation that contributes to immunity against a particular disease. The term vaccine derives from the use of cowpox (Latin: variola vaccinia), to inoculate humans, providing them protection against smallpox.[3] Vaccines have helped to reduce the incidence of many common diseases, led to the control of others, and have resulted in the global eradication of smallpox. Vaccination is cited as the most effective intervention in modern medicine.[4] It is universally accepted that adopting vaccines is the best use of scarce health care resources. More safe vaccines will become available and will protect people against a range of pathogens that cause misery and death. In contrast to industrialized countries, many people in developing countries lack adequate health care and cannot afford the cost of treatment needed for common infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are major causes of economic underdevelopment and poverty in these countries. Development and deployment of vaccines to protect against infectious diseases in developing countries is a high priority to improve global health.

The goal of any vaccination program is to reduce and ultimately control the target disease(s) by working in conjunction with public and private health care providers. Accomplishing this goal will require achieving and maintaining high vaccination coverage levels, improving vaccination strategies among under vaccinated populations, prompt reporting and thorough investigation of suspected cases and rapid institution of disease control measures. Also, a vaccination program should develop strategies for appropriate use of the vaccines, specifically in the high disease burden countries. To do this, we need to generate evidence on the effectiveness of the vaccine, and devise appropriate tools for the policy makers and public health experts in the country to guide them on the decision making and introduction of novel vaccines in developing countries.[5]