Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Given our immunological expertise in times of pandemic, we have become much more in demand with our external relationships. The COVAX initiative, led by GAVI, and supported by CEPI and WHO, aims to ensure rapid and fair access to any new vaccines against SARS-CoV2 and/or COVID-19. We have nominated two of our vaccine experts, Rita Carsetti and Ursula Weidermann-Schmidt, to participate in the COVAX initiatives, and more nominations are likely. Participation in this initiative will ensure we have vaccine experts involved in vaccine decisions.
IUIS has non-state actor status at the World Health Organisation, and we have just submitted our Collaborative Plan for 2021-23 for approval. This plan focuses on the excellent work our committees do and how we can provide expert advice on standardisation and nomenclature of vaccines and biologicals, as well as partnering with WHO to enhance our Education activities.
IUIS is also a member of the International Science Council, who aspire to advance science as a global public good. I encourage all IUIS members to visit the ISC page for new opportunities and activities for both societies and individuals. The ISC recently released a discussion document on scientific publishing and open access to data, and IUIS has submitted two responses to this document and Faith and I will attend the summary briefing to report back to members. We also thank Bjoern Peters, from the QAS committee, who has volunteered to be our IUIS representative on the ISC CODATA Project.
Our membership categories increased at the General Assembly last year, and we have now streamlined the process for new members, including those in the Associate Membership category. We are recruiting new members for this category (no fees!), focussed on scientific societies whose activities and goals align with our own and I encourage you all to look to the other organisations of which you may be members, and suggest they join IUIS too.
Finally, we have had to move most of our usual meetings to an online format. The Council meeting in November will be held virtually, but we hold out hope for some face to face meetings at FAIS (now in 2021) and ALACI (also in 2021).
With best regards,
IUIS Secretary — General