Title : Should HIV vaccines be available at no or subsidized cost to trial host communities? Perspective from Tanzania HIV vaccine trial stakeholders
Making proven intervention available to the host community is increasingly becoming a moral obligation than a researcher’s discretion. This study aimed to explore whether host communities of HIV vaccine trials ought to access the vaccines at no or subsidized princes. A case study design was deployed in which a total of 37 participants participated in in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The participants included purposively selected HIV vaccine trial researchers, institutional review board members, community advisory board members, representatives of HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and policymakers. The data was analyzed thematically. The findings indicated two arms of the argument, an entirely free vaccine on one hand and subsidized cost on the other. Being a participant in the trial and poverty among those most affected by HIV was the justification for a free HIV vaccine. On the other hand, the high cost of the vaccine research and development process and the need to attract more investments were among the reasons to subsidize cost lather being made available for free. However, participants noted that not only governments and international entities could fund vaccine availability but also well-off individuals. Generally, reasons for whether or not an HIV vaccine should be freely available are equally important. For that reason, prior agreements between the host community and the wider community of stakeholders including governments and manufacturers are crucial. If proven interventions cannot be made available to host communities, exploitation is more likely.
Audience Take Away:
- Valid arguments for countries in the global south to obtain HIV vaccines when available at no cost
- Important consideration for policymakers, R&D partners and big pharms in ensuring HIV vaccine access
- But also put to test the need for price discrimination in which the rich could pay for the poor to access the lifesaving HIV vaccines.