Pre-Congress Meeting: Building the investment case for rotavirus vaccines through evidence

Ahead of the 7th biannual Asian Vaccine Conference, the ROTA Council held a technical session called Building the Investment Case for Rotavirus Vaccines Through Evidence.

Mathu Santosham, ROTA Council chair and professor at Johns Hopkins University, chaired the meeting.

Attending were over 40 scientific investigators, pediatric leaders, and EPI managers from 15 primarily lower-middle income Asian countries.

Tony Nelson of the Chinese University of Hong Kong presented an overview of diarrheal disease and rotavirus vaccines.

Daniel Payne of the US CDC highlighted substantial declines in rotavirus deaths and hospitalizations following vaccine introductions, emphasizing the systemic nature of rotavirus infections.

Zulkifli Ismail, secretary-general of the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association, raised challenges for rotavirus vaccine introduction in middle-income countries. Lulu Bravo (University of the Philippines; Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines) moderated a discussion evidence gaps in countries considering rotavirus vaccine introduction.

Participants highlighted the need for additional evidence on the influence of diarrheal disease on malnutrition and potential impact of rotavirus vaccines on stunting and shared lessons learned from introduction deliberations and stalled rollouts.

The session concluded with presentations from Helen Saxenian (Results for Development) on sustainable immunization financing mechanisms and Lois Privor-Dumm (Johns Hopkins University) on evidence-based advocacy.

Download Presentations from the ROTA Council Pre-Congress Meeting

Symposium on Rotavirus Vaccines: Opportunities and Challenges

A symposium on Rotavirus Vaccines: Opportunities and Challenges kicked off the last day of ASVAC 2017. Daniel Payne of the U.S. CDC highlighted global vaccine impact, especially the rapid, substantial reductions in rotavirus deaths, hospitalization, and treatment-associated costs in countries routinely using vaccines.

Mathu Santosham noted the lag in vaccine introductions in Asia, highlighting barriers including declining diarrhea mortality and a lack of understanding of the health, economic, and societal consequences of rotavirus. Rakesh Kumar of UNDP shared the status of the Bharat vaccine and Indian rotavirus vaccine introduction—which has reached about 9% of India’s birth cohort to date—citing as key challenges training, cold chain expansion, high wastage rates, and complications of a phased rollout in a mixed public-private system.

Carl Kirkwood of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided an update on the product landscape, including two nationally licensed Indian vaccines that may soon be prequalified by WHO for use globally, particularly in Gavi-eligible countries, and several new vaccine candidates in development.

Frédéric Debellut of PATH shared results of cost-effectiveness studies, highlighting that rotavirus vaccines continue to be a good investment even in low mortality settings and countries not eligible for Gavi support.