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Tool Could Aid in Prioritizing Vaccine Preparation

A computer program unveiled on Thursday by the U.S. National Academies' Institute of Medicine includes a formula that could be used by official planners and others in choosing possible future vaccines to pursue through unilateral and multilateral initiatives, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported (see GSN, Oct. 26, 2011).

The institute created the system -- dubbed "Strategic Multi-Attribute Ranking Tool for Vaccines" -- upon instruction from the Health and Human Services Department's National Vaccine Program Office, which established the mechanism's preparation as the initial action in the 2010 National Vaccine Plan.

The program requires significant details on affected demographics. The formula can take into account as many as 29 characteristics linked to entrepreneurial, financial, institutional, medical, political and social frames of reference; data types can include physical maturity, gender status, vaccine administration, medical infrastructure utilization and expenses.

The institute stressed that the system is intended as an aid and not a replacement to human decision-making. The program's preliminary iteration has yet to be released, but officials are seeking input from insiders and plan to issue the planning tool on terms permitting its dissemination and modification (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy release, May 11).

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