Study conducted for the establishment of an influenza vaccination supply system (2010)
Faced with the threat of H1N1 influenza (H5N1) reported in Southeast Asia along with some regions in the Middle East and Africa since 2003, out of the sense of crisis and responsibility, we voluntarily conducted a study on challenges faced by the vaccination supply system in Japan and compiled a report on recommended solutions. We presented the results to the Japanese government.
Delaying the peak outbreak and possibility to minimize number of people infected
Based on a simulation of a flu outbreak in New York City conducted by the US Department of Defense and a consulting firm, although delaying the peak timing and isolation could reduce the infection, it is still not possible to completely contain the infection. Such a scenario would result in over 1 million casualties in the east coast.
Possible countermeasure against H5N1: 1) delay the peak timing by appropriate handling, 2) use time (4 – 6 months) to develop, manufacture, and provide vaccination to people and 3) minimize damages.
Current status and its challenges on the flu vaccination supply system in Japan
Major countries’ flu outbreak control plans and vaccination production systems recommend that the flu vaccination to be prepared for all citizens within 6 months. However, in Japan it was calculated that it would take five years and two months to produce the necessary amount of flu vaccination. Supply capability was deemed to be very low. We looked at the entire value chain from its development to inoculation and analyzed that there are 13 challenges that lie in the vaccination strategy, the production system, the production method, the manufactures themselves, and in the medical institutions. Fundamentally, it is a structural challenge; because the vaccination business is a low profit undertaking in japan pharmaceutical companies are not keen to enter this business and also because of the slow manufacturing capability due to chicken-egg based production.
Presented proposals to the government to resolve challenges
To solve these challenges in the vaccination supply system, we created nine recommendations that touched on creating a new vaccination strategy, establishing transparency in decision making process at the national level, making the vaccination business profitable for manufacturers, creating a readiness plan in terms of insurance in case of side effects from the vaccination. We presented this as a packaged proposal describing the challenges, measures and explanations on why such measures are necessary.