Lessons from Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1): Insights from the Research-Based Vaccine Industry


Atika Abelina, Tony Colegate, Stephen Gardner, Norbert Hehme, Abraham Palache


  • The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations International Vaccine Supply Taskforce (IFPMA IVS), 15 Chemin Louis-Dunant, PO Box 195, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland
  • Influenza Working Group Chairman, European Vaccine Manufacturers Group (EVM), Rue du Trône 108B, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Article Info:

  • Received: 5 July 2010
  • Received in Revised Form: 4 November 2010
  • Accepted: 14 November 2010
  • Available Online: 27 November 2010


Pandemic Influenza, H1N1 Vaccine


As the A(H1N1) influenza pandemic transitions into the post-pandemic phase, global health authorities are in the process of evaluating the pandemic response. To ensure that this evaluation contributes to enhanced future preparedness, it is imperative to gather perspectives from all relevant stakeholders, including vaccine manufacturers. This paper outlines the significant contributions made by research-based influenza vaccine producers to the pandemic response and explores valuable lessons that can be applied to improve future preparedness.

The emergence of the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza strain spurred an unprecedented level of collaboration among global health authorities, scientists, and manufacturers. This collaboration resulted in the most comprehensive pandemic response to date, with several vaccines receiving approval for use just three months after the pandemic declaration. The success of this response was made possible by extensive preparations made over the past decade, during which vaccine manufacturers significantly expanded their influenza vaccine production capabilities. Estimates suggest that this capacity will double once again by 2014. Additionally, manufacturers introduced innovations like cell-culture technology, adjuvants, and whole virion technologies, which led to a significant reduction in pandemic vaccine antigen content. This, in turn, substantially increased pandemic vaccine production capacity, reaching an estimated 4.9 billion doses per annum according to the World Health Organization in July 2009. Manufacturers also collaborated with health authorities to establish risk management plans for robust vaccine surveillance during the pandemic. Individual manufacturers committed to donating significant vaccine doses and implemented tiered-pricing approaches to ensure vaccine availability in developing countries.