Influenza is a major public health issue; it is thought to infect some 60 million of the EU’s 500 million inhabitants every year. Vaccines have a major role to play in preventing the spread of the infectious disease, every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) studies the strains of flu in circulation worldwide and recommends adaptations to flu vaccines accordingly. The challenge for the entire vaccine research and healthcare community is to evaluate the effectiveness of these annual vaccines. Current efforts in this area are simply not extensive enough to assess in detail the benefits of vaccination for different groups and to guide public health measures during a flu season. One element hampering efforts to carry out more extensive vaccine effectiveness is the ability of the different stakeholders involved to work in collaboration.
The goal of the DRIVE project is to set up a platform, bringing together all stakeholders, to study brand-specific flu vaccine effectiveness in the EU over a five-year period. At the heart of the platform will be a governance framework that allows transparent and efficient collaboration between public and private stakeholders. To guarantee the scientific independence of the studies, the roles of all participants, including vaccine manufacturers, will be clearly defined and traceable. An Independent Scientific Committee will further minimise the risk of conflicts of interest in the design of the studies and the interpretation of their results.