10. Training Needs
Vaccinology covers a wide range of disciplines including immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, infectious diseases, pediatrics, clinical development, biotechnology, production processes, quality control, quality assurance, preservation, shipping, cold chain/supply chain management, public health, health economics, sociology, ethics and communication, to only mention a few.40
Furthermore, the diversity of profiles involved in vaccine innovation success throughout the value chain raises the challenge of adapting educational programmes to specific needs. This applies to many stakeholders, from scientists developing innovative vaccines, to engineers in manufacturing as well as healthcare workers that must convince the population about the value of vaccination.
The VACSATC40 (Vaccine Safety-Attitudes, Training and Communication) study showed that among medical students less than 60% reported to have received training in safety issues and vaccination controversies; only 44% received training on how to communicate with patients and parents about vaccination; and only 50% stated to have received practical training on how to administer vaccines. Further gaps were identified in postgraduate education and the introduction of PhDs and Masters combining a broad base in vaccinology with various combinations of specialised modules, including modules of applied vaccinology.
Certainly, several key courses41 and relevant expertise exist at EU level, ranging from courses providing a comprehensive overview of vaccinology, from immunological concepts to vaccine development and implementation of immunisation programs, to post-graduate courses in vaccine related fields such as epidemiology, vaccine safety and efficacy, policies for vaccine implementation, and GMP for vaccine manufacturers. Many others exist, but all are not readily identifiable.
Moreover, as an outcome of the TRANSVAC roadmap42, EVRI advanced courses, with a strong hands-on component, are expected to link the best institutions in Europe. EVRI- recognised Centres of Excellence in Vaccinology throughout Europe should be able to deliver a strong educational mandate. In broader terms, in Europe, several other education channels exist that can be leveraged such as the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET); the European Malaria Graduate School; the European Medicines Research Training Network (EMTRAIN); and finally other tools that can enable a more flexible approach to education and vocational training, including through favoured exchange of expertise across countries, i. e. MOOCs, Erasmus Mundi programmes, and Marie-Curie actions.
GAPS AND CHALLENGES
The IPROVE stakeholder consultation workshop enabled the identification of key needs that were organised per type of stakeholder, according to what is reported in the table here below:
|SKATEHOLDERS||TRAINING GAPS AND NEEDS|
|Public Health staff||
|Researchers (from both industry and academic/public centres)||
|Staff working in the regulatory field||
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR EU LEVEL ACTION
Audience and training offer in Europe:
- Target groups for training should be better identified as needs between groups are quite different. Each group should be offered the most appropriate training (both in content and format) addressing their specific needs. This could be the topic of a specific study funded at EU level
Training format, accessibility and recognition
- Short-term training only is not enough: Europe requires specialised and in depth long-term training as well as continuous training (life-long learning)
- Training courses should cover the entire process from vaccine R&D to licensure
- Training should be embedded in and compatible with the careers people are working in
- Training in vaccinology needs to be incentivised in order to make it attractive for participants from EU countries
- Training offered needs to be accredited by relevant higher education organisations
- Establishment of vaccine training platforms would allow the sharing and shipment of equipment required for
- Funding for the establishment of infrastructure facilities devoted to training for GMP manufacturing is required as training in existing industrial facilities is not possible
Recommendations as for implementation – moving forward:
- Wherever possible use up-to-date vaccinology training courses, such as various IMI-funded projects (e.g. EMTRAIN, LifeTrain) and providers of online education such as massive open online Course – MOOC (e.g. Iversity, edX)
- Both country-specific and pan-European training should be provided, evaluating which activities are better implemented at national or at EU level
- Both traditional, face-to-face and online education should be offered, as they can be complementary
- Short- and long-term training is required to address specific training needs for different career paths and stages
- Mapping of competency profiles for different jobs related to vaccinology might be useful for developing a comprehensive training offer addressing training needs for different career paths and stages
- Establishment of teams of teachers bringing together different competencies should be fostered, as knowledge today is too broad for a single person to be an expert in everything
- Liaison between public sector and vaccine industry is important and should be fostered based on clear codes of conduct for guiding decisions and procedures
- Measuring the impact of training provided is important to demonstrate the added value of training programmes
- Achieve a critical mass by federating and networking of existing platforms and competencies
- Sustainability is key for maintaining competencies and the infrastructures developed.
|GAPS & CHALLENGES||Recommendations|
|Gaps are based on the need for appropriate training according to specific target groups needs, i.e.:
41 Non exhaustive list can be found at http://www.euvaccine.eu/node/307