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Message from

the Director

Scott Halperin, MD

Vaccines were high profi le in 2014, in both the
media and research, for a variety of reasons and
pressures. Outbreaks in North America of vaccine-
preventable diseases, like measles and pertussis,
remind us all that high vaccination rates and
continual monitoring of vaccine eff ectiveness are
essential for disease control. Th ese outbreaks led
to numerous stories about parents who hesitate,
neglect or refuse to vaccinate their children,
providing many opportunities to demonstrate and
explain the rigorous science behind vaccines. Th e all vaccine research in Canada. With a three-
tragic Ebola outbreak in West Africa accelerated year grant of $2.2 million per year from the
research to fi nd a new safe and eff ective vaccine Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian
to hopefully avoid similar outbreaks in the Institutes of Health Research from June 2014-17,
future. Th is season’s sub-optimal infl uenza the re-named Canadian Immunization Research
vaccine encouraged more research to improve Network (CIRN) is a collaboration of leading
current infl uenza vaccines and fi nd new ones. Th e vaccine researchers and institutions, representing
increasing threat of antibiotic resistance puts more over 125 investigators at more than 30 institutions,
pressure on prevention, such as vaccines, to avoid hospitals, and provincial and regional agencies
treatments that may not work. across Canada. CCfV is the coordinating centre
for CIRN, providing leadership, educational
To respond to these pressures, CCfV investigators seminars, fi nancial management, statistical
and staff conducted numerous studies to monitor analysis and communications.
older vaccines and evaluate new ones. Studies to
improve the annual infl uenza vaccine with novel Recognizing the contributions to vaccine research
adjuvants were undertaken, along with surveys to by CCfV members, in January 2015 Dalhousie
measure vaccine acceptance among the public and University Board of Governors approved CCfV
particularly among health care providers. As an as an offi cial Dalhousie Centre, joining a long
experienced clinical trial centre for Phase I vaccine list of collaborative Dalhousie centres and
studies, CCfV conducted the only Canadian trial institutes. A new Governing Council will provide
of a new Ebola vaccine, with unprecedented public overall governance and accountability while
and media attention. Canadian biotechnology also reinforcing the collaboration of Dalhousie
made it possible to test this Ebola vaccine, University, the IWK Health Centre and Nova
originally developed by the National Microbiology Scotia Health Authority which makes CCfV
Laboratory in Winnipeg, as well as a new made- possible.
in-Canada adjuvant that could improve the
eff ectiveness of many vaccines. Speaking of contributions, we again thank the
hundreds of volunteers who participate in health
Building on the success of the former Public research and help us provide the evidence for safe
Health Agency of Canada / Canadian Institutes and eff ective health products. We are fortunate to
of Health Research Infl uenza Research Network work in a community like Halifax, with generous
(PCIRN), the network was expanded to include citizens who willingly give of their time and more.

Annual Report | 2014-15
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