30 June, 2021
It is hard to believe that we are now entering July. And with it, more light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. The coordinated delivery and dispensing of COVID-19 vaccines in some countries is paying off, with some closing in the gap to “herd immunity”. And there is some evidence that new vaccines are proving effective against the variations currently circulating (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/health/coronavirus-vaccines-immunity.html).
However, it is also true that COVID-19 infections are still rising in about 40 countries. And many others still have uncomfortably low vaccination rates. Those countries whose citizens are better protected may begin to relax, thinking that the pandemic is behind them. But this would be unwise. The continued wide-spread circulation of the virus in those countries with lower vaccination rates may still have a chilling effect in the future. And case rates are still rising in the northern and southern hemispheres. Now is not the time for citizens, or their governments, to be careless or complacent.
Instead, those fortunate enough to have been early beneficiaries of the vaccine must begin to redefine what success against the pandemic looks like. After all, this is a global pandemic… Our neighbors in lower-and-middle-income countries must also benefit from these life-saving medications. Right now, health care workers in many of these countries still have not been vaccinated, at the same time they are doing their very best to ease the suffering of their neighbors. And in these same countries, older citizens are still very much at risk from the virus. For the most part, the fact that they are not currently vaccinated has nothing to do with their willingness. It is primarily a question of supply.
Residents of richer nations must ask at what point the needs of citizens of countries less fortunate becomes the primary concern. When do their needs become more urgent than our own? That time is drawing near. In the meantime, those with access to the vaccine are doing the rest of the world a great service by receiving the vaccine. The higher the percentage of overall vaccinations in your country, the better chance your government will be able to shift gears from a local to a more global approach to combatting the pandemic.
Two weeks ago, a small group of countries agreed to provide 870 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to developing countries, at least half of which will be delivered by the end of 2021. Though welcome, this gesture falls short of what will ultimately be required.
We can only hope that additional resources will be offered soon. And we are still quite hopeful that we will convene a “live”, in-person International Biometric Conference in Latvia twelve months from now. That said, we are not interested in leaving a large portion of the world behind. The IBS is a Society of Regions. And we are hopeful that all regions of the world will soon benefit from the scientific and medical community’s efforts. We should all benefit from hearing of the latest advancements in our profession. We should all benefit from the excellent work of our peers.
We look forward to more progress in the months to come, and your continued success.
Peter Doherty, Executive Director
20 April, 2021
The message we are hearing from World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminds us that the world is not "out of the woods yet" when it comes to COVID-19. Far from it, in fact.
“Globally, our message to all people in all countries remains the same. We all have a role to play in ending the pandemic,” he said.
As of this writing, more than 139 million Covid cases have been reported worldwide, with 2.9 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO declared
the coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. And they seem far from declaring victory. Vigilance is still required, whether we have been lucky enough to receive a vaccine or not. And even when we have, there is a strong chance that many of our colleagues will still be waiting.
As a global society, we look forward to better days for all of our colleagues, and measurable progress in vaccinations.
29 January 2021
I continue to be amazed by how resilient our colleagues are. We are still likely months away from achieving any sense of normalcy. Your Society is planning for more virtual programming (having just confirmed a new program Chair for our Journal Club web series) and, at the same time, the IBS is still innovating. We are excited to announce the next Travel Awards Fund call for applications from colleagues in LMIC countries will soon be launched. A portion of the funding is expected to be awarded to those planning to register for virtual conferences and sessions. Meanwhile, we are beginning the planning process for the 2022 International Biometric Conference in Riga, Latvia. A site visit is being planned for late 2021, and our Executive Board is hopeful that they will be able to meet in person during the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2021. In addition, we are aware of plans for several late 2021 Region in-person events. We hope that you will continue to learn and grow with us, and we will see you on the other side of this!
Peter Doherty, Executive Director
10 November, 2020
Pre-recorded content from the 31st (and first virtual) IBC remains available through the end of December. We hope you will continue to access the content, or sign up for the first time through the IBC 2020 website. To start your 2020 IBC conference, register now. The IBC is an example of how your Society is still adapting, and helping our members learn and connect, even during this challenging COVID-19 period. Our local IBS Regions are adapting as well, and we are beginning to see more activity from the Regions in the form of local virtual conferences. We encourage you to visit the Events Calendar to learn more about the local events taking place soon. One benefit of this period is that more virtual programming is available from member societies without the need for travel. Here is a quick link to the calendar: Go to the calendar now.
This year’s International Biometric Conference marks the 31st IBC, and it is one that is entirely different from what we are used to. Our ability to provide you, our members and participants, with some really useful sessions as part of this IBC, remains our primary goal. Rather than a week-long line-up of sessions, we hope that you will make plans to join us over the next 60 days for some valuable and also quite memorable content. To start your 2020 IBC conference, register now.
As you know, IBC2020 cannot proceed as planned this coming July due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is such a shame, especially since the Korean Region had been working so hard to arrange a welcoming and exciting conference for us all.
We have spent quite some time thinking through options and have decided that even postponing until 2021 could be problematic, since it is not at all clear when global travel will return to normal. Also, we know there are many options for other meetings next year including the various regional meetings that are usually held in the IBC off-year. Indeed, the Korean Region are looking to run a small conference that incorporates some of the planned elements from IBC2020. Please stay tuned!
But the good news is that we are actively planning to offer some of the planned IBC2020 options virtually. We will be in touch with more detail in a week or so. Because of the time differences among us all, we plan to deliver our virtual IBC offerings over a number of weeks and will be picking a few time slots so as to make it feasible for everyone to join.
We will be asking a modest fee to participate in the virtual IBC2020, though there will be options for waived and reduced fees for members.
Our top priority is to provide you, our members, with some useful sessions. But if you are in a position to pay the fee (e.g. if your university or organization will cover it for you), we will be very grateful since this will help offset some of the significant losses IBS has incurred due to the in-person conference being cancelled. We look forward to seeing you online soon and in person before too much longer!
IBC2020 Organizing President
14 May, 2020
The IBS International Biometric Office remains open and ready to serve you during normal Eastern timezone business hours.
Professionals in many areas of the world continue to have their activities limited or severely curtailed by COVID-19 and related restrictions, and in-person events of nearly every size are being postponed or cancelled. It is the same with the IBS and its Regions. At the same time, the Society and its partners are looking for new ways to deliver professional content to members, as well as the larger community. We encourage visitors to our new website to stay in touch, to join our e-mail list if you have not already, and to stay informed regarding some of the new educational and networking opportunities emerging (and others currently under development) as a result of this COVID-19 challenges. In the end, we will prevail. Stay safe and healthy, friends!
2 April, 2020
As in-person interactions become more difficult for all of us, we look forward to the day when our situation returns to normal. But in the meantime, we must continue to think about the future. The future of our neighborhoods, our networks, the Society, and our profession. The Society is happy to launch our new website as a way to help connect the IBS community in new ways, and pool some of what we know in a way that benefits the community at large. Look for more useful information and tools in the coming weeks and months that will help members to continue to learn and grow. And do consider getting involved in the brand new "IBS Members Community", available for free to all members, where you can share what is happening in your area, as well as biometrics topics that matter to you!
20 March, 2020
The Executive Board of the IBS has decided that the 2020 International Biometric Conference should not proceed as planned in July 2020, due to extensive travel restrictions being imposed by countries all over the world and the need to ensure the general welfare of everyone within our community. The health of our IBS community is our primary concern at this moment. We are actively discussing alternatives, including online offerings and in-person meeting options, most likely for July and August 2021. We will provide more information as soon as it is available. Stay safe and healthy!
For the full announcement, click here.
18 March, 2020
The International Biometric Society is monitoring daily developments associated with the spread of COVID-19 and its effects on IBS operations and the International Biometric Conference.
The IBS International Biometric Office remains open and is available to all members during normal working hours. Decisions regarding IBC 2020 in Seoul will be made soon. But above all, please stay informed and stay safe. We encourage you to check back on this site and watch our new member community for further announcements.