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Goal 1: Develop New and Improved Vaccines

Vaccine research and development are the foundation of successful immunization programs.  Through scientific discoveries and breakthroughs, researchers develop vaccines that protect the health of the world’s population in new and more efficient ways.  Research to improve existing vaccines also provides opportunities to improve on a range of vaccine characteristics such as efficacy, safety, and vaccine delivery.  By developing and using new and improved vaccines, we are better prepared to meet our overall goals to prevent serious infectious diseases and their complications.

Several agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and across the federal government are actively involved in vaccine development.  These agencies conduct research, often partnering with other agencies and other sectors, such as vaccine manufacturers and vaccine purchasers, to develop new vaccines and improve existing vaccines.  The National Vaccine Program Office plays an essential role in facilitating communication between the entities involved in vaccine development, thereby providing enhanced opportunities for collaboration and information sharing.  Examples of important vaccine research and development work included in the State of the National Vaccine Plan 2013 Annual Report.  The sampling of achievements from the past two years included in the report demonstrates the commitment of HHS and its partners to improving the health of people in the United States, as well as people around the world, through new and improved vaccines. 

Selected highlights:

  • A new framework and open-source software for determining vaccine development priorities.
  • A new generation of influenza vaccines.
  • Advances in scientific understanding of diseases and vaccine responses, especially for pertussis, pneumococcal disease, dengue and hepatitis C.
  • New vaccine production techniques and technologies.
  • Licensure of the first cell- and recombinant-based influenza vaccines in the United States to improve response time and capacity for influenza pandemics.

Read more in the full State of the National Vaccine Plan 2013 Annual Report [PDF]