SPEAC experts join International Neonatal and Maternal Immunization Symposium

The Sixth International Neonatal and Maternal Immunization Symposium (INMIS) took place from March 12-14 in San Jose, Costa Rica. The conference welcomed 300 participants, including researchers, clinicians, regulators, advocates, and representatives from industry, and featured presentations from 125 experts working in maternal and neonatal immunization. Former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, gave the keynote address. 

Three members of the SPEAC Executive Board participated in the conference. Dr. Flor Muñoz, the chair of the organizing committee of INMIS, presented the SPEAC project during a session focused on the challenges and implementation of pregnancy registries. Dr. Manu Chaudhary presented a poster titled, “Burden of Lassa Fever Disease in Pregnant Women and Children and Options for Prevention,” and led part of the Research Master Class, where she presented the SPEAC Project’s landscape review of Chikungunya disease burden and vaccine development in children and pregnant persons. Dr. Andy Stergachis spoke on an expert round table on the topic, “Novel Safety Surveillance of Vaccines in Pregnancy Post-Licensure/Authorization in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.” The Maternal Immunization Working Group, which Dr. Muñoz also chairs and Dr. Chaudhary and Dr. Stergachis are members, also met during the conference to discuss publications and the group’s next steps. 

One full day of the conference was focused on immunology, and several sessions focused on vaccine safety. Guidance and case definitions developed by the Global Alignment of Immunization Safety Assessment in Pregnancy (GAIA) Project were featured in several presentations. Attendees participated in discussions on the importance of pregnancy registries in generating safety data that increase vaccine acceptance and the need to integrate pregnancy registries into prenatal and postnatal care and surveillance systems. These actions are particularly important to prepare for the introduction of new vaccines that are developed specifically for use or likely to be used by pregnant persons. 

The next INMIS conference will take place in Australia, and the dates are being determined. The SPEAC Project leads look forward to continued engagement in neonatal and maternal immunization, particularly through their work with special populations and active vaccine safety surveillance. 

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