Our mission is to make vaccines more accessible, enable innovation and expand immunization across the globe.
Spreading Truth, Building Trust
2018 marked 25 years since Heloisa Sabin co-founded the Sabin Vaccine Institute in memory of her husband, immunization pioneer Dr. Albert Sabin.
In the last quarter century, the world has undergone incredible change. At the time of our founding, nearly one in 10 children across the globe did not live to age five. Now, thanks in part to remarkable advances in vaccines and to you — the scientists, policy makers, advocates and people around the world who have supported them — more than 95 percent of children celebrate their fifth birthdays. That is amazing progress, but it’s not enough.
What will it take to realize a world free from preventable diseases?
We know the power of vaccines: 3 million lives saved annually. Yet, thanks to the success of vaccines, some people no longer fear many preventable diseases. Combined with disinformation and barriers to access, vaccination rates are falling, particularly in Europe and the United States. And the consequences are devastating — the first three months of 2019 saw measles cases worldwide spike 300 percent as compared to Q1 of 2018.
Reversing these trends to ensure that every person worldwide who needs a vaccine gets one requires a comprehensive, evidence-based approach, one that harnesses out-of-the-box thinking from scientists, immunization managers, government officials, journalists and health professionals.
That’s why, in 2018, Sabin brought together leading stakeholders — leading strategists from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, along with academics, R&D experts, media and community-based immunization professionals — to ground decisions in the latest science and remain agile to meet the needs of a dynamic environment.
Our 2018 efforts built global networks of vaccine champions armed with robust scientific evidence of the benefits of immunization. We empowered health professionals to be more effective advocates for their communities on the local and national levels. We provided unprecedented evidence to policy makers tackling today’s epidemics. And we began engaging deeply with social and behavioral scientists to improve confidence in vaccines.
We also engaged quietly with immunologists, vaccinologists and infectious disease doctors to plan how Sabin can research, develop and bring new vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable populations. Our work in 2018 positioned Sabin to initiate new vaccine research and development projects in 2019.
In our first 25 years, Sabin has grown and changed in many ways, but the most important mission remains — a commitment to improving health through immunization. Sabin’s leadership is more critical than ever, as is your generous support, helping more children see their fifth, 50th and even 75th birthdays.
Today’s vaccination challenges require a holistic approach to advancing vaccine science and access. That’s why Sabin engages stakeholders across the immunization landscape, cultivating collaborations and knowledge-sharing that wouldn’t happen otherwise to ensure that all people can enjoy the benefits of life-saving vaccines.
Chief Executive Officer
In 2018, with the partnership of committed funders, the Sabin Vaccine Institute advanced evidence-based resources for policy makers, scientists and researchers, health professionals and business leaders to help more communities worldwide benefit from life-saving vaccines.
Powering New Tactics Against Typhoid
Typhoid — despite causing an estimated 128,000 deaths annually, mostly in low- and middle-income countries — receives little attention.
Protecting the Most Vulnerable
The introduction of a new, longer-lasting typhoid conjugate vaccine presents a critical opportunity to invigorate the fight against this disease while, for the first time, protecting children as young as six months old. Sabin’s leadership has been key to keeping typhoid at the forefront of global policy makers’ agendas.
Harnessing the Power of Data
In 2018, Sabin completed the first two years of Phase II of our landmark study – enrolling more than 20,000 participants – to establish the burden of enteric fever, the current trends of antimicrobial resistance and the cost of typhoid and paratyphoid on families, communities and health care systems. Early findings from the study, which is conducted in close collaboration with our network of research partners in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, were published in a supplement in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Informing Global & National Policy
The model used by Sabin’s Surveillance for Enteric Fever in Asia Project may provide a valuable lesson on how a well-designed study can go a long way to influence policy decisions and improve global health.
Dr. Samir Saha
Co-Investigator and Site PI, Surveillance for Enteric Fever in Asia Project; Head of Department of Microbiology and Executive Director, Child Health Research Foundation at the Bangladesh Institute of Child Health, Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sabin delivered records from the study to global policy makers including the WHO and Gavi, providing data that was instrumental in the WHO’s updated position paper on typhoid vaccination – which recommends typhoid conjugate vaccine use for infants and children over six months of age in typhoid-endemic countries – and Gavi’s decision to earmark $85 million through 2020 to support introduction of the vaccine.
Throughout the study, Sabin has developed strong local and regional relationships throughout South Asia, which are now important in ongoing advocacy to introduce typhoid conjugate vaccines into routine immunization schedules.
Outsmarting Influenza with the Best in Science and Technology
Beyond its significant annual toll as a recurring seasonal epidemic, influenza poses a unique and graver threat — the ability of the influenza virus to mutate rapidly and spark a pandemic against which existing vaccines would offer little to no protection.
Prevention of an Unparalleled Pandemic
An estimated 33 million people could die in the first six months of a modern-day influenza pandemic. Its impact and the efforts to contain it could overwhelm health care systems and disrupt the global economy, costing up to $6 trillion. Yet, at the current pace of development, a universal influenza vaccine — a longer-lasting intervention with broader coverage — won’t be available for another decade or more.
Costs of an Influenza Pandemic
Collaborations to Transform Influenza Vaccine Development
Bringing together people from a wide cross-section of backgrounds and disciplines is the most promising way to bring about significant scientific progress.
Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg
President, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
In 2018, Sabin launched the Influenzer Initiative — a movement to make influenza history that aims to bring together change makers and creative thinkers from diverse disciplines and industries to accelerate development of a universal influenza vaccine.
The year also saw the inaugural meeting of the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science & Policy Group, a joint initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Aspen Institute that brings together senior leaders across many disciplines to examine challenging vaccine-related issues and drive impactful change. The 2018 meeting focused on overcoming the scientific, financial and organizational barriers to developing next-generation influenza vaccines, and culminated in a report calling on the scientific community to make bold, coordinated commitments to speed development of a universal influenza vaccine.
Empowering the People Who Make Immunization Happen
Immunization professionals are the driving force behind vaccine coverage and access worldwide. Their role is growing in importance and complexity and many will need to become increasingly self-reliant as national programs transition away from donor support. Despite the demand for peer-to-peer engagement, no mechanism exists for these critical health care specialists to connect with one another and channel their collective voice.
Meeting the Needs of Immunization Professionals
Over the past two years, Sabin has worked closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to relaunch our network for immunization professionals, with a focus on developing their leadership and management skills. The new online platform will serve a global community of national and subnational immunization workers, providing access to training and resources around leadership and advocacy, as well as a community where they can share knowledge and experiences. Convenings and learning engagements in select focus countries will complement the online platform.
A Global Community Sharing Knowledge & Resources
Enabling & Elevating
Immunization managers are the engines of disease prevention and control and are the forerunners of public health in action.
EPI Programme Manager, Liberia
Sabin consulted immunization professionals at every stage of the platform’s development to ensure it will meet their needs and enable them to solve problems, grow in their careers, connect with each other and develop the skills they need to be effective leaders. The goal of the platform – and the network more broadly – will be the development of leadership skills and empowerment of members to advocate for themselves and their programs.
Promoting Fact-Based Journalism
The proliferation of anti-vaccine misinformation and disinformation threatens millions of lives. Recent outbreaks and a rise in lives lost to vaccine-preventable diseases have demonstrated the need to tip the scales in favor of the truth about vaccines — and the importance of evidence-based media coverage in protecting public health.
Connecting Journalists with Expert Sources
Because journalists can’t do their job without reliable, knowledgeable sources, Sabin’s Immunization Advocates program connects reporters and editors with the sources and information they need to confidently and factually report on immunization, disease outbreaks and vaccines.
Sabin’s conference was well organized, and I learned a lot. It’s now easier for me to write the news about vaccines and immunization and I also have a stronger understanding of how important they are.
Helping Immunization Facts Make Headlines
Our 2018 workshop in Romania helped reporters gain an increased understanding of vaccine science, efficacy and safety, while also mobilizing health professionals to serve as go-to expert sources. As the program expands to more regions, Sabin continues to support media and health professionals worldwide in producing effective, accurate and timely coverage of immunization in both mainstream and social media.
Fact-Based Reporting Helps Protect Public Health
Misinformation is fueling vaccine hesitancy across Europe and around the world, putting children at risk.
Getting to the Root of Vaccine Hesitancy
Vaccine hesitancy is one of the 10 greatest threats to human health, according to the WHO.
A Research Network to Reverse Troubling Trends
Advances toward the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases have been hard-earned, but can be far more easily reversed, as evidenced by the 300% increase in measles cases from 2018 to 2019. Sabin is committed to increasing vaccine acceptance by fostering collaboration to tackle the social and behavioral roots of vaccine hesitancy around the world, including through our Vaccination Acceptance Research Network.
Increase in Measles Cases
Improving the Vaccination Experience in Romania
Vaccines are ever more important in a globalized world, especially when resources are tight. There’s no better value for health or money. Given their long record of safety and effectiveness, vaccines have never been more important than they are now in today’s global, connected world.
Dr. Bruce Gellin
President, Global Immunization
In 2018, we launched our first research collaboration: a study examining the perspectives of those closest to under-vaccinated children — their caregivers and health care workers. Sabin and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe partnered to support the Romanian Ministry of Health and National Institute of Public Health to implement a study to understand current practices for vaccination and community outreach, factors that influence vaccination, and how the vaccination experience can be improved in the primary care setting to ensure that more children in Romania receive life-saving vaccines. The study concluded in June 2019 and findings will be released in early 2020.
Supporting Evidence-Based Immunization Policy
Policy makers are a vital part of vaccine access. Yet, not one legislative or regulatory formula exists for increasing vaccine uptake. Sabin marries research and advocacy to help countries shape evidence-based policies that meet their specific needs.
Sabin’s Landmark Study: A Powerful Tool for European Policy Makers
In light of recent outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe, in 2018, Sabin worked with the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown Law to create the first analysis of immunization legislation for all 53 countries in the region. The resulting report serves as a point of reference for countries considering changes to their legislative frameworks for immunization and a tool to advocate for tailored government approaches to increasing vaccination rates.
There are many factors involved in how laws impact coverage rates, and the more we can study them...the better chance we have of being able to draw correlations between them.
Katie Gottschalk, J.D., LL.M
Executive Director, O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Our Findings: Context Matters
The review found no “one-size-fits-all” solution for crafting immunization policy. Instead, the research reinforces the principle that country context, capacity of the immunization system, economics, social dynamics, political realities and the constitutional relationship between a government and its citizens all play a role in how a country should approach its legislative framework for immunization. It also paves the way for further analysis of immunization legislation in Europe and elsewhere.
Levels of Immunization Legislation
Developing Vaccines the World Needs
In 2018, Sabin laid the groundwork to relaunch our research and development program, targeting diseases that cause devastating health effects and death in low-income countries, but are not being adequately addressed by traditional vaccine developers. In partnership with a distributed network of experts, Sabin intends to develop vaccine candidates with demonstrated clinical success, making it possible to bring them to market faster.
In the pipeline
Sabin plans to develop and license monovalent vaccines against Ebola Sudan and Marburg viruses. Ebola Sudan and Marburg are among the world’s deadliest viruses, causing hemorrhagic fever with subsequent death in half of cases, on average. In the years ahead, we hope to make available the reliable protection every man, woman and child needs to defend themselves against these life-threatening diseases. Our work begins in 2019, following a licensing agreement with GSK, $5.3 million awarded from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and funding of $20.5 million from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
As an organization committed to improving lives through immunization, Sabin is dedicated to preventing devastating outbreaks of the Ebola and Marburg viruses.
Chief Executive Officer
Recognizing a Champion for Immunization
In 2018, the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal was conferred upon Dr. Paul Offit, an exceptional defender of vaccine efficacy and safety and a trailblazer in rotavirus vaccine research.
About the Award
The annual award recognizes a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions to vaccinology or a complementary field and commemorates the legacy of Dr. Albert B. Sabin.
By honoring those whose pioneering work advances the field and saves countless lives, Sabin amplifies the impact of vaccine champions worldwide.
At this time, it's more important than ever that, as scientists, we explain what we do.
Dr. Paul Offit
Recipient of the 2018 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal
Behind every immunization statistic are the lives and futures of communities, families and children.
With the foundation of truth in scientific evidence and the goal of building trust, Sabin is working to transform how science, health care and business combine to create a world free from preventable diseases. Your support makes this life-saving work possible.
Donate today to ensure all people can get the vaccines they need, regardless of who they are or where they live.
Thank you to our valued donors. You make this vital work possible and your continued support will help us advance toward a world free from preventable diseases.
The Sabin Vaccine Institute is proud to allocate more than 80 percent of its expenses annually to programs that help increase the number of children and communities worldwide who are receiving life-saving vaccines. Sabin received Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating for financial accountability and transparency for 11 of the last 12 years.
General Allocation of Funds
Investment by Vaccine Project Area
The Sabin Vaccine Institute’s leadership team comprises global health, research and development and policy experts.
Chief Executive Officer
Bruce Gellin, M.D., M.P.H.
President, Global Immunization
Brian Davis, CPA
Chief Operating Officer
BOARD OF TRUSTEES*
Axel Hoos, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Committee Chair
Chief Executive Officer
Filip Dubovsky, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P.
Elizabeth Fox, Ph.D.
Wendy Commins Holman
Michael W. Marine, Ambassador (Ret.)
Saad Omer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Regina Rabinovich, M.D., M.P.H.
Governance Committee Chair
Philip K. Russell, M.D.
R&D Committee Chair
Jacqueline Shea, Ph.D.
Peter L. Thoren
Finance & Audit Committee Chair
*as of Fall 2019