Indexed on: 08 Jul '11Published on: 08 Jul '11Published in: Omics : a journal of integrative biology
Vaccines have been among the most effective tools for addressing global public health challenges. With the advent of genomics, novel approaches for vaccine discovery are opening up new opportunities for vaccine development and applications, particularly with the expectation of personalized vaccines and the possibility of addressing a broader range of infectious diseases. In this context, it is useful to reflect on the social contexts of vaccine development as these have been influenced by social, ethical, political challenges. This article discusses the historical context of vaccine controversies and factors that help explain public acceptance and resistance, illustrating that these challenges go well beyond simple public misunderstandings. The broader vaccine challenges evident along the innovation trajectory, from development to commercialization and implementation include problems in research and development, organizational issues, and legal and regulatory challenges that may collectively contribute to public resistance or confidence. The recent history of genomics provides further lessons that the developing field of vaccinomics can learn from.