Vaccines Medical Advisor

Date: Feb 14, 2021

Location: New York City, NY, US, 10006

Company: Doctors Without Borders | Médecins Sans Frontières

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that delivers impartial medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care in over 70 countries.

We welcome candidates who bring a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to join us in working toward MSF’s common mission.


Title of function: Vaccines Medical Advisor


Location: Any MSF Offices


Contract: 12 months full-time with option to renew- 100%


Start: As soon as possible


Deadline for applications: February 7, 2021


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

Created in 1999, the Access Campaign (AC) is an MSF Campaign entity guided by MSF’s charter, and dedicated to serve MSF’s social mission. Deeply rooted in MSF’s medical operations, the AC works to tackle barriers to people’s access to medical care, ensuring that quality products such as medicines, vaccines and diagnostics are available, affordable and adapted to people in MSF projects and beyond, now and for the future. The AC is hosted by MSF International, the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 25 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF movement, and implements international projects and initiatives as requested.




Vaccines are a major area of operational and policy work for MSF and the AC. Much of the focus in recent years has been MSF’s role in epidemic response, support for improvement of routine immunization, access to new vaccines, and adaptability of vaccines to the types of low-resource contexts where MSF works.

The MSF AC’s Vaccines team works on the medical and policy analysis and advocacy issues pertaining to access to new and existing vaccines, and helps to address the main access constraints confronted by MSF in the field. As the Access Campaign’s multidisciplinary vaccines team (which includes policy, advocacy and regulatory expertise) addresses these underlying technical and political barriers, the medical advisor position requires a technical, strategic and political understanding of the barriers and opportunities relevant to its medical priorities.

The Access Campaign will invest more to follow the landscape of vaccine development and respond to demands from MSF in implementing access-supported programming: access to new vaccines, advocacy for more adapted vaccines and vaccine delivery technologies/models. There is a need to build the capacity of the vaccines dossier by further engaging with external experts on vaccine and vaccine technologies development and supporting MSF’s use of new vaccine tools in our operations.




The Vaccines Medical Advisor position provides the clinical/medical/technical expertise, working with the cross-disciplinary team of policy, pharmacist, advocacy and communications experts that are based in a few countries around the world. The vaccine medical advisor also plays a significant role in strategy development, reporting/publications, pipeline analysis and representation. The position will engage with vaccine and vaccine technology developers, many of which are based in the US.

The medical advisor must remain current with the clinical and operational challenges faced by MSF in its programs and, linking that with an analysis of the upstream tool research and development landscape, health policy environment (normative, economic and donor), work with the wider team to support development of targeted advocacy priorities for the areas s/he is asked to focus upon ensuring the AC strategies and advocacy positions are medically and scientifically sound. While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, the medical advisor will provide support to the Access Campaign’s COVID-19 vaccine access-related work, including acting as the medical referent for all advocacy and public-facing campaigns to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines.


The core responsibilities of the position are to:


  • Remain fluent and up to date with medical literature in the priority vaccine domains and upstream research and development prospects.
  • Engage with vaccine product developers and key funders (eg BMGF, PATH) to be abreast of the landscape and advocate for technologies that are suited to low-resource contexts.
  • Present opportunities for use of new vaccine tools (ie. new delivery technologies, new vaccine presentations, etc.) and strategies that can better serve MSF’s patients.
  • Anticipate the availability of new vaccines, new delivery technologies, new vaccine presentations and support the scaled-up use of underutilized vaccines in MSF.
  • Assure medical technical/scientific accuracy of all AC public communications materials and reports.
  • Representation in global forum to advocate/argue for improved policies that result in more effective immunization programs with a focus on completing immunization schedules.
  • Work closely with the Vaccines Policy Advisor to provide support to policy analysis and position development, bringing the medical and operational perspective to this work.
  • Provide a link between MSF operational needs/constraints and global advocacy trends/opportunities to inform response and MSF positioning in vaccine policy fora.




This position is part of the AC Medical team and therefore under the line management of the Medical Coordinator. Functionally the successful candidate will work closely with the Senior Vaccines Policy Advisor (Vaccines lead), the AC Vaccines & Regulatory Systems Pharmacist and other members of the AC team, the MSF Vaccination Working Group (VWG), key individuals within MSF headquarters and operations, and external experts to develop and implement the core priorities of the vaccines dossier.




1. Provide medical and scientific guidance to AC’s work on vaccines


a. Assure medical technical/scientific accuracy of all AC public communications materials and reports;

b. Remain fluent and update with medical literature in the assigned domains and upstream research and development prospects.


2. Support availability of new vaccines and better adapted vaccine products


a. Follow the vaccine landscape to anticipate new vaccines that will be important for MSF’s patients, and help to lay the groundwork for their availability to MSF;

b. Work with vaccine product developers to accelerate the market entrance of tools/technologies that better meet developing country needs, and ensure operations are ready to take up/implement new tools, if wanted;

c. Support MSF’s involvement in the development of innovative vaccine technologies and presentations and participation in relevant external groups, if appropriate;

d. Work to translate MSF’s involvement and implementation of new vaccines and/or new technologies into global strategies and policies that advance our transversal biomedical objectives.


3. Provide direct operational advocacy support


a. Support implementation of agreed AC analysis and advocacy responsibilities in the MSF Vaccination Working Groups three-year action plan to further operational ambitions;

b. Participate in the VWG to identify areas of operational constraints that could be good candidates for AC advocacy support, and work to forecast areas that may be good opportunities for MSF in the future;

c. Contribute to alleviate operational barriers faced by MSF that require access related advocacy at global level, in particular with agencies such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, BMGF, WHO, UNICEF and other relevant organizations.


4. Provide the clinical/scientific analysis that underscores programmatic and operations-based messaging, and contribute to building and implementing advocacy strategies to influence global health institutions


a. Support work to influence global health institutions, eg Gavi, WHO, UNICEF, BMGF, etc., based upon MSF’s field experience and policy landscape;

b. Advocate for global vaccination guidelines (ie. expanding age groups for immunization, new catch up strategies, use of vaccines in humanitarian settings, etc.) to be implemented at regional and country level;

c. Work to influence global vaccination policies, with a particular focus on fragile states and emergencies;

d. Support the development of solutions for the humanitarian community to access vaccines in crisis/emergency contexts.

Job requirements


The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and experience:


  • Medical expertise (doctor, paramedical, public health expertise).
  • Understanding of vaccines, biotherapeutics, public health and epidemiology.
  • Experience working in resource-limited settings, ideally with MSF at field and/or HQ levels.
  • An understanding of access to medicines priorities in developing/humanitarian settings and the political or policy constraints in MSF contexts.
  • An understanding of global health policy and the key actors/stakeholders in the global health arena.
  • Project management skills, teamwork, team management, strategic planning and priority setting an advantage.
  • Strong technical/medical writing skills in English. Strong knowledge synthesis skills (including literature reviews). Other language skills (particularly French) are an advantage.
  • Excellent communication and team working skills; and willingness to speak at public events when required on behalf of MSF.




  • The majority of stakeholders that the position works with are in the US EDT time zone, so candidate must be able to accommodate work in that time zone.
  • There will be some overseas travel in this posting most likely to international conferences, internal meetings and/or field trips depending on requests.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

At MSF, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability status, and all other diversity characteristics.






Pay Class & Contract Type

Regular FT Salaried Exempt 



Starting salary * (commensurate with experience)


Working Time (Hours Per Week)


Nearest Major Market: Manhattan
Nearest Secondary Market: New York City