Lauren Franzel’s job is a balancing act. As a forecasting manager at PATH, she and her team look out over the next two decades to analyze demand for vaccines and compare that to supply. Their goal: ensure that children worldwide get the vaccines they need when they need them.
An unprecedented demand
Lauren says we’re in a “unique period of time for the vaccine market.”
“There are a lot of vaccine technologies out there that countries can benefit from, and there’s unprecedented demand,” she says. “My team sizes the vaccine market so that donors understand how much is needed in terms of financial resources. We also inform industry partners what is needed in terms of supplies to ensure a sustainable market.
“It’s a delicate balance allocating vaccines when there’s not enough supply to go around,” Lauren continues. “There are so many dynamic pieces to the puzzle. We’ve come up with very transparent and documented processes to help with these decisions. Working closely with our global partners, we look at things like a country’s burden of disease or available infrastructure while trying to respect a country’s preferences. We also pay close attention to what manufacturers have in the clinical pipeline and project when other vaccines will be ready.”
The impact of immunization
Lauren and her team can also use their forecasting models to determine the impact of vaccination—how many people can be immunized and, as a result, how many cases of a disease we can expect to avert.
“For example,” she says, “if we can immunize 100,000 kids against rotavirus disease (which causes severe diarrhea), we can project how many future deaths from rotavirus will be averted.”
See the rest of Lauren’s interview.