Due to an unprecedented global effort, a growing number of Covid-19 vaccines are nearing potential approval in the coming months. Early 2021 could see a mass roll-out of vaccines across the Latin American and Caribbean region. The speed of vaccine development, and the challenges of operating during an active pandemic, have left countries with little time to plan for effective delivery and distribution. Building on previous events, this webinar aims to accelerate this preparation through providing an open forum for discussions of the specificities of vaccines that could be available in the coming months; the challenges associated with delivery and distribution; best practice planning and infrastructure development; and, countering disinformation that could limit public uptake of available vaccines.
The event will be hosted by Argentine Minister of Health, Dr. Ginés González García, alongside the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Minister of State, Wendy Morton MP. It will convene a range of experts, including PAHO, Gavi – The Vaccines Alliance, CEPI, The Caribbean Health Agency, the WHO, and the Vaccine Confidence Project, along with commercial entities involved in the manufacturing of vaccines and their distribution.
Ministerial Introductions and opening remarks
Moderator: Mark Kent CMG, British Ambassador to the Argentine Republic
Wendy Morton MP
Wendy Morton was appointed as joint Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development on 13 February 2020. She is the UK minister for global health, and the Minister for the European Neighbourhood and the Americas.
Her portfolio includes work on Covid-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, as well as ending preventable deaths, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene – all critical in the fight against coronavirus. She previously sat on the International Development Committee, and has been a Member of Parliament since May 2015.
Dr. Ginés González García
Ginés González García is a surgeon. He graduated from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC), Healthcare Administration specialist, graduated from University of Buenos Aires (UBA); Master in Healthcare Systems and Social Security, graduated from University of Lomas de Zamora/ISALUD University. Fields of expertise: Heath Policies, Healthcare Systems, Medication, Health Economy.
Honorary President of ISALUD University. Doctorates Honoris Causa from University of Morón, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and University of Buenos Aires. Former Chairman of the Latin American and Caribbean Health Economy Association; Chairman of the Argentine Health Economy Association; Chairman of the Spanish-American Social Security Organisation’s Health Committee.
Former Ambassador to the Republic of Chile (2007-2015); Health Minister of Argentina (2002-2007) and of the Province of Buenos Aires (1988-1991).
Dr Seth Berkley
A medical doctor and infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr Seth Berkley joined Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as its CEO in August 2011, spearheading its mission to protect the world’s poorest children by improving access to new and underused vaccines.
In its 20 years of existence, Gavi has reached more than 820 million children in the 73 poorest countries. In 2015, Dr Berkley led Gavi to its second replenishment, raising US$ 7.5 billion in donor commitments. In June 2020, Dr Berkley led Gavi to its third successful replenishment, raising US$ 8.8 billion and exceeding the ask of at least US$ 7.4 billion in the presence of 42 heads of state. The ambitious goals for the 2021–2025 strategic period are to reach 300 million more children, preventing an additional 7–8 million deaths and contributing to a further US$ 80–100 billion in economic benefits.
Dr Berkley is co-leading the Vaccines Pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, working to develop and distribute a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine globally. In July 2020, Fortune honoured him with a leadership award at Brainstorm Health, calling Gavi “arguably the most productive multilateral health collaboration in history.”
Under Dr Berkley’s leadership, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance received the 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, as well as the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2020.
Prior to Gavi, in 1996, Dr Berkley founded the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the first vaccine product development public-private sector partnership, where he served as President and CEO for 15 years.
Under his leadership, IAVI created a virtual vaccine product development effort involving scientists from low-income countries, industry and academia – developing and testing HIV vaccines around the world.
He also oversaw a global advocacy programme that ensured HIV vaccines received prominent attention in the media and in forums such as the G8, the European Union and the United Nations.
Previously, Dr Berkley served as an officer of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation.
He has worked for the Center for Infectious Diseases of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and the Carter Center, where he was assigned as an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in Uganda. Dr Berkley played a key role in Uganda’s first national HIV sero-survey and helped develop its national AIDS Control Program.
He has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine; recognised by TIME magazine as one of “The TIME 100 – The World’s Most Influential People”; and named by WIRED magazine as among “The WIRED 25 – a salute to dreamers, inventors, mavericks, leaders.” His TED talks have been viewed by more than 2.3 million people, and he has published over 250 articles and opinion pieces. He has consulted or worked in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Dr Berkley sits on a number of international steering committees and corporate and not-for-profit boards, including those of Gilead Sciences and the New York Academy of Sciences, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health in the Faculty of Medicine.
Dr Berkley received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and trained in internal medicine at Harvard University. In 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for services to global public health and advancing the right to health care for all.
Panel 1 – Deep dive into different vaccine profiles and associated logistical challenges
Moderator: Professor Carole Mundell – Chief Scientific Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Jakob Peter Cramer, a medical doctor with specializations in internal medicine, tropical medicine, travel medicine and infectious diseases, joined CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) as Head of Clinical Development in June 2019.
Before joining CEPI, he held the position of Head of the Section Tropical Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf as well as the Clinical Research Unit at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) in Hamburg, Germany, where he founded the clinical trials unit and conducted Phase 1-2-3 vaccine trials against various infectious diseases (including influenza, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal diseases, travellers’ diarrhoea). During his 14 years in the academic environment, he also conducted epidemiological and investigator-initiated clinical research in Africa. From 2014 to 2019, Jakob held the position of Medical Director, Clinical Development, Vaccine Business Unit, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International AG, Zurich, Switzerland where he was actively involved in Takeda’s norovirus and dengue as well as the BMGF-funded polio vaccine development programmes.
He is a lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, as well as the University of Siena MSc Course in Vaccinology, Italy, and a member of a series of infectious diseases societies.
Jose Luis Pieroni
José Luis Pieroni is a specialist in Goods Storage and Distribution Practices for the pharmaceutical industry. He is a Technical Advisor member of the Working Group - Project "Acercar Vacunas" (TCU - Terminal de Cargas Uruguay at Montevideo Airport in Uruguay and is also a former LATAM Sales Engineer at Sensitech Inc, (the Cold chain visualization division of Carrier Corp). He is currently a representative of Sensitech Inc. for Uruguay and Paraguay.
Antonia Williams has recently joined as Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Director in the UK Department of Health and Social Care. Previous roles in government include Director of Mental Health and Disabilities at DHSC and Deputy Director of the No10 Policy Unit and she has also worked for PWC, Ernst & Young and UCLH NHS Foundation Trust.
Panel 2 – Advancing country plans, investment in human and physical infrastructure
Moderator: Dr. Enrique Pérez-Gutiérrez. Acting Representative of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in Argentina
Dr. Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus
Dr. Ruiz Matus, a Mexican, studied at the Higher School of Medicine of the National Polytechnic Institute. He studied Specialty of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health of Mexico and was Resident in Applied Epidemiology at the Ministry of Health, a program offered in conjunction with the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in the United States. He is also a graduate of the Senior Management Program of Public Entities of the National Institute of Public Administration in Mexico.
He worked in the Secretariat of Health of Mexico for 25 years occupying various positions, including that of Deputy Director of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in the State of Oaxaca, Head of the Department of Control of Diarrheal Diseases in the General Directorate of Epidemiology, Director of the Residency Program in Applied Epidemiology, Director of Applied Epidemiology, and Director of Epidemiological Surveillance. For the last 10 years, he served as Coordinator of Advisors to the Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion in the Ministry of Health of Mexico.
Since 2007, he has served as Head of the Comprehensive Family Immunization Unit of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and therefore, as Regional Advisor on Immunization for America for the World Health Organization (WHO) at the Headquarters of the Organization in Washington, DC, USA.
Dr. Ruiz Matus has carried out his professional work mainly in the area of applied epidemiology, participating directly in the study of outbreaks, health risks, attention to natural disasters, implementation of epidemiological surveillance systems and the establishment of priority prevention programs and disease control. During the last 13 years he has collaborated in the strengthening of the immunization program in the countries of the American Region and participated in multiple WHO work groups related to immunizations.
He has vast experience as a teacher at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a lecturer in various national and international forums. He has published multiple articles in scientific journals.
Within the Mexican Society of Public Health he was Secretary General, Vice President and President during the period 2003 - 2004. He also held the presidency of the World Federation of Public Health Societies in the period 2004-2006.
Dr. Juan Manuel Castelli
Doctor specialist in infectology. University professor of Prevention of Infections Associated with Surgical Procedures and Introduction to clinical taxonomy. He works as researcher in projects for “Salud Investiga”, the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) and the Center for State and Society Studies (CEDES).
Fellowship in Perinatal Infections, FUNDASAMIN (2006-2009); Scholarship for Training to design and develop a cohort research, FOGARTY AIDS INTERNATIONAL TRAINING AND RESEARCH PROGRAM (2008-2009). He has a postgraduate degree in Training to Strengthen Early Childhood Educational Policies, certified by the International Institute for Educational Planning-UNESCO. Candidate for a Master's degree in Health and Social Security Systems at ISALUD University. Under his leadership, he obtained the 2018 Total Quality Award - Argentine Society for Total Quality and Health Technology Assessment, awarded by the Argentine Medical Association.
He was Coordinator of the Health Technology Evaluation Program of the Ministry of Health of the Province of Buenos Aires (2010-2011), Director of Training of Health Professionals (2011-2016) and Undersecretary of Planning, Prevention and Health Promotion of the Municipality of Almirante Brown, Province of Buenos Aires (2018-2020). At present, he is National Director of Communicable Disease Control, in the Ministry of Health of the Argentine Nation.
Gerson Bermont Galavis
Dr. Bermont has served as an early childhood advisor to the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing - ICBF, he was Director of Territorial Health of Caldas from 2013 to 2019 where he was in charge of implementing the strengthening of the departmental public network , the implementation of the Primary Social Care strategy, the Social Observatory and the Cuídate-Cuídame self-care campaign.
In the context of the Pandemic, Dr. Gerson served as the operational liaison between the Ministry of Health and the Presidency of the Republic. Since November 2020, he has served as Director of Promotion and Prevention of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia.
Dr. Bermont is a professional optometrist with a specialization and a master's degree in Public Health.
Panel 3 – Countering vaccine hesitancy & disinformation
Moderator: Carla Vizzotti, Secretary of Access to Health, The Ministry of Health of Argentina
Heidi J. Larson
Heidi J. Larson, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science and is the Founding Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is also Clinical Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
Prof. Larson’s research focuses on the analysis of social and political factors that can affect confidence in and acceptance of health interventions. Her particular interest is on risk and rumour in health, particularly around vaccines and immunization. Professor Larson previously headed Global Immunization Strategy and Communication for UNICEF and chaired the GAVI Advocacy Task Force. She served on the FDA Medical Countermeasure (MCM) Emergency Communication Expert Working Group, and is Principle Investigator of the EU/IMI -funded (EBODAC) project on the deployment, acceptance and compliance of Ebola vaccines in Africa and J&J Global Study on public sentiments around the Covid-19 pandemic response.
She is author of STUCK: How Vaccine Rumors Start – and Why They Don’t Go Away (Oxford U Press, 2020)
Dr Joy St. John
Dr Joy St. John is dedicated and reliable, with a track record of achievements in public health systems management and development and health diplomacy. Her firm but fair style has assured her a place in networks of practise across the world.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of CARPHA from July 2019
The Executive Director provides leadership and Direction to CARPHA in executing the functions laid out in the Inter- Governmental Agreement.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the World Health Organisation from October 2017 to April 2019, with direct responsibility at the World Health Organization for Climate and other Determinants of Health (CED) (first Barbadian to be Assistant Director General.
Former Chief Medical Officer of Barbados (first Barbadian to hold that office) for over 12 years-Top Public Health Advisor to the Minister of Health and responsible for the oversight of the management of the Health Sector.
Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (first Caribbean person to do so) from 2012 –2013.
"Internal Medicine specialist (University of Buenos Aires) and infectious diseases fellowship (CEI). Social Security and Systems specialist (ISALUD). Founding partner and President of the Argentine Vaccinology and Epidemiology Society (SAVE).
Member of the Advisory Committee of the Vaccine Acceptance Research Network (VARN); Sabin Institute; member of the Latin American Pediatric Infectology Society (SLIPE) (2018-to date); member of the Argentine Infectology Society’s Vaccine Committee (2007-to date); member of Fundación Vacunar’s Scientific Committee (2019).
Former Director of the Centre for the Study of Prevention and Control of Transmissible Diseases (CEPyCET) at ISALUD University. Consultant on health strategy analysis for Fundación Huésped and advisor to the Chamber of National Deputies’ Social Work and Public Health Committee.
Former National Director for Immunopreventable Disease Control (DiNaCEI) at the Argentine Health Ministry (2007-2016); member of the World Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation Practices (2013-2019) and Technical Advisory Group on Maternal Immunisation (2014-2016); member of the Pan-American Health Organisation’s Technical Advisory Group on Maternal Immunisation (2014-2016); member of the International Association of Immunization Managers’ Founding Council (2013-2015); member of the Board of Directors of the Argentine Infectology Society (2013-2018)."