Public health, innovation, intellectual property and trade

Workshop on Enhancing the Global Workforce for Vaccine Manufacturing (WEGWVM)

30 November to 2 December 2011, Cape Town, South Africa


The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of Health, and Human Services (HHS) and other like-minded organizations and governments are committed to assisting in the creation of regionally-based, independent and sustainable vaccine production capacity in developing and emerging economy countries through capacity building and technology transfer. As a means of initiating a coordinated discussion among the international partners regarding this shared goal, WHO and HHS convened the Sustainable Influenza Vaccine Production Capacity Stakeholders’ Workshop in Washington, D.C. in January 2010. During the workshop discussions a constantly recurring theme was the notion that international support for establishing or strengthening vaccine production capacity in developing and emerging economy countries must also include appropriate efforts to train and retain a skilled local workforce. A highly skilled workforce will support long term sustainability and viability of the operations of developing country vaccine manufacturers (DCVM). Every single staff member of a DCVM is vital to ensuring that the production facility is both functional and able to contribute to regional preparedness to face public health challenges.

Due to the synergies/similarities between the vaccine production workforce and the workforce producing other biological drugs, the two labor forces could complement each other during times of critical need. The management model of the biological drug manufacturing workforce could also serve as a benchmark for training, recruitment and retention policies.

Building upon the Stakeholders’ Workshop, WHO and HHS held a Workshop on Enhancing the Global Workforce for Vaccine Manufacturing (WEGWVM). International vaccine manufacturing workforce capacity enhancement is defined as any efforts related to the recruitment, training, and retention of vaccine manufacturing personnel involved in the production of vaccines leading to the development of a highly skilled local workforce.

The workshop brought together key stakeholders to identify essential needs and current gaps in the vaccine manufacturing workforce in developing countries; discuss the development of a coordinated and sustainable approach to address these needs and gaps; generate ideas for leveraging existing resources; and delineate potential policy issues and options for the short, medium, and long-term.

The WHO Global Pandemic Influenza Action Plan to Increase Vaccine Supply (GAP) was reviewed and refined in 2011 as part of the formulation of a GAP-2 which will span the next 5 years. The new implementation plan aligns a timeline to stakeholder roles and responsibilities in the creation of sustainable influenza vaccine production capacity worldwide. Outputs from the WEGWVM are intended and expected to influence the implementation of the GAP-2.

The goals of the workshop were to:

  • Support global public health preparedness through contributing to the establishment of strong vaccine production capacities worldwide
  • Establish trans-national and/or regional synergies in vaccine production capacity building
  • Recruit, train, and retain local vaccine manufacturing workforce
  • Develop innovative collaborations to address the vaccine production workforce development challenges faced by nations and regions with existing or planned vaccine production activities

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Provide a forum for discussions on enhancing the recruitment, training and retention of the international vaccine manufacturing workforce.
  • Identify current needs and gaps in vaccine manufacturing workforce capacity that must be addressed in order to meet the needs of developing countries.
  • Identify drivers and obstacles towards the development of a sustainable global vaccine manufacturing workforce, as well as identifying potential solutions for addressing challenges.
  • Provide an opportunity for vaccine manufacturers, experts in vaccine manufacturing training, and policymakers in low, mid and high income nations to form new partnerships and reinforce existing ones.
  • Delineate policy issues and options for the short-, medium-, and long-term.
  • Provide a forum for highlighting successful models and best practices to invigorate vaccine manufacturing workforce development.

Agenda and presentations:

Contact Information: Claudia Nannei