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Home » Vaccines » Recognising vaccine innovation today for a healthy tomorrow

Ian Gray

Country Medical Lead, Sanofi UK & Ireland & Head of Medical Sanofi Pasteur

With the emergence of COVID-19, the world is witnessing the crucial role of rapid vaccine development, and deployment, in protecting lives and economies.

Vaccines play a pivotal role in preventing disease and save millions of people worldwide from illness, disability and death.Vaccines underpin a fundamental tenet of modern healthcare—that prevention is better than cure.

More than ever, advances in healthcare and the discovery of new medicines and vaccines are needed to ease the burden on the NHS and sustain healthy, productive communities.

Therefore, by aligning with UK government public health priorities, Sanofi believes that recognition and support of innovation in vaccine discovery, manufacture and roll-out are critical to prevent diseases significantly impacting the UK population and economy.

A healthy community, a healthy economy

Comprehensive vaccination programmes underpin good public health and extend beyond prevention of disease in individuals. Vaccination reduces the risk of illness among unimmunised and vulnerable members of our communities through ‘herd immunity’.

We also know that the burden of diseases, including those preventable by vaccination, falls disproportionately on the disadvantaged members of our communities. Vaccination programmes like those in the UK can help reduce inequality; however, more work is needed to address vaccine hesitancy and uptake among some ethnic minority communities, as experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the national level, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how a disease can place a devastating financial burden on individuals, businesses and healthcare systems, like our NHS. Preventing disease through effective and optimised immunisation programmes can reduce the burden on primary care, hospital admissions, disability, and death, and ultimately, healthcare expenditure and costs.

By introducing innovative immunisations and optimising current vaccination programmes, we not only support the health and well-being of people in our community, but we also reduce burden on the NHS and support its sustainability.

More than ever, advances in healthcare and the discovery of new medicines and vaccines are needed to ease the burden on the NHS and sustain healthy, productive communities.

Recognising innovation

We have seen how the scientific and medical communities, supported by government, have worked to discover, develop and deploy vaccines against many infectious diseases, including COVID-19. As we look towards health and economic recovery following the pandemic, it is essential to continue to recognise the value of immunisation and invest in the discovery, development and delivery of vaccines in both the short and long term. Effective policy and decision making are paramount to achieving this aim.

As we leave the European Union, the UK must remain an attractive place for life science companies to invest to ensure the health benefits of effective vaccination programmes are delivered to the UK population.

Furthermore, for the UK to maintain its status as a pioneer in the advancements of scientific research and development in disease preventable medicines and vaccines, sufficient investment and incentivisation is required to enable their discovery, development and eventual commercialisation for their use in the UK. By doing so, the UK will maintain its leadership position in disease prevention.

At Sanofi, we are committed to embracing innovation to discover and manufacture new vaccines to save lives and promote good health. We are taking new approaches to vaccine discovery via a deeper understanding of the biology of the pathogen (e.g. the virus or bacteria causing the disease) and how the pathogen causes illness and is transmitted to others. We are exploring new, efficient ways to manufacture effective vaccines. We are improving vaccine formulations to simplify the delivery and administration of vaccines in national immunisation programmes.

Looking beyond today

We must continue to support the success of UK vaccine campaigns, ensuring that the uptake and coverage of new and existing immunisations are optimised and maintained. Crucially, all parties, government, policymakers, scientists, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies and individuals have a responsibility to provide clear, transparent, accurate information about vaccination to ensure public confidence.

We must also remember that other infectious diseases have not disappeared during this global pandemic. That is why Sanofi are investing in vaccine innovation and development today to prevent ill health tomorrow.

Sanofi, with its global vaccine entity Sanofi Pasteur, is a leading vaccine developer and manufacturer. Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccines protect more than half a billion people in the world.

This article was commissioned and written by Sanofi UK.
Document number: MAT-GB-2102105(v1.0)
Date of preparation: May 2021

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