GAVI: Developing world gets new vaccine within a year of richer nations
12 DECEMBER 2010 | MANAGUA, Nicaragua - A new vaccine which prevents the most deadly forms of pneumonia – the world’s number one killer of children – is now being delivered in Nicaragua through a routine immunisation programme, paving the way for its arrival in more than 40 developing countries.
International leaders in global health joined the Nicaraguan government and hundreds of parents and children to celebrate the rollout of the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the developing world less than a year after it was introduced in rich countries.
The event marks the beginning of a global routine immunisation programme against pneumococcal disease in the world’s poorest countries, supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). The roll out begins in Central America this year before starting in Africa and the Middle East early in 2011.
Pneumococcal disease, which causes pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, kills more than half a million children under five years every year. “For every one child who dies of pneumonia, the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease in rich countries, 2,000 die from pneumonia in developing countries. This is not acceptable,” said Helen Evans, interim CEO of GAVI Alliance. “The members of the GAVI Alliance are committed to bringing life-saving vaccines to the children who need them the most. This event is the first step in an ambitious plan to introduce this powerful new pneumococcal vaccine in the world’s poorest countries,” Helen Evans added. “GAVI’s efforts in the next five years will significantly focus on tackling the two biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases,” Mrs Evans said, highlighting that GAVI needs an additional US$3.7 billion over the next five years to accelerate the introduction of new and underused vaccines in the developing world.