The recent influenza vaccine shortages have provided a timely reminder of the tenuous nature of the world's vaccine supply and the potential for manufacturing issues to severely disrupt vital access to important vaccines. The application of new technologies to the discovery, assessment, development and production of vaccines has the potential to prevent such occurrences and enable the introduction of new vaccines. Gene-based vaccines, virus-like particles, plant-derived vaccines and novel adjuvants and delivery systems represent promising approaches to creating safer, more potent vaccines. As a consequence, more people will have faster access to more effective vaccines against a broader spectrum of infectious diseases. However, the increased cost of producing new vaccines and regulatory uncertainty remain challenges for vaccine manufacturers.