Q&A: Rajeev Venkayya on why vaccines are a worthy investment
As tremendous progress is made on routine innoculations, the next challenge for vaccines may be in tackling emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. It will require upfront investment — but the returns could be significant.
“This is an area where I think the world is wise to invest because vaccines are very inexpensive compared to the costs of caring for people that end up with the disease in a given population,” said Rajeev Venkayya, the president of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. “It’s far more cost effective to immunize the population to prevent the outbreaks than it is to treat the outbreaks once they happen and in fact its one of the most cost effective tools we have in public health.”
Venkayya has seen vaccines from every angle. Before launching Takeda’s global vaccine business five years ago, he served as senior director for biodefense at the White House and director of global health delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The success of vaccines going forward, he says, requires public and policy support for investments “to make sure that we’re driving strong immunization coverage everywhere but also investing in new vaccines for the diseases that should be vaccine preventable,” he said.
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