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Pneumococcal vaccines on their way to more than 40 developing countries

Pneumococcal vaccines on their way to more than 40 developing countries

NAIROBI, 11 February 2011 – Hundreds of infants in Kenya will receive their first shots against pneumococcal disease on Monday 14 February at a special event to celebrate the global roll-out of vaccines targeting the world’s biggest child killer — pneumonia.

Pneumococcal disease currently takes the lives of over a million of people every year – including more than half a million children before their fifth birthday. Pneumonia is the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease and accounts for 18% of child deaths in developing countries, making it one of the two leading causes of death among young children.

Kenya is the fifth country to introduce pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the past three months, after Nicaragua, Guyana, Sierra Leone and Yemen. All countries benefited from the support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) which brings together governments, UNICEF, WHO and other key players in global health.

GAVI has committed to support the introduction of pneumococcal vaccines in 19 developing countries within a year and, if it gets sufficient funding from its donors, plans to roll them out to more than 40 countries by 2015.

GAVI needs an additional US$ 3.7 billion over the next five years to continue its support for immunisation in the world’s poorest countries and introduce new and underused vaccines including the pneumococcal vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine which tackles diarrhoea – the second biggest killer of children under five.

The roll-out of the pneumococcal vaccines in the developing world has been made possible through an innovative finance mechanism pioneered by GAVI called the Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

With US$ 1.5 billion from Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Russian Federation, Norway, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a commitment of US$ 1.3 billion from GAVI, the AMC allowed the acceleration of production capacity from the two manufacturers contracted so far. This is securing the supply of pneumococcal vaccines within a year following the introduction of those vaccines in Europe and in the United States and at a fraction of the price charged in rich countries.

Ahead of marking this major milestone in global health, the GAVI Alliance would like to invite you to join an interactive webcast media briefing on Friday, 11 February, with GAVI CEO Helen Evans and Dr. Orin Levine, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins University and one of the world’s top experts on pneumococcal vaccines. They will be joined by Dr. Tom Mboya, Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya, who is also a former high-level official in the Kenyan Ministry of Health.

When: Friday, 11 February, 13:00 GMT (14:00 – Geneva time)

How: To join, simply click on this link to register: http://www.apo-opa.org/en/application?vc=GAVI

About GAVI Alliance

The GAVI Alliance is a public-private global health partnership committed to saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
The Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society organisations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
Since it was launched at the World Economic Forum in 2000, GAVI has prevented more than five million future deaths and helped protect 288 million children with new and underused vaccines.

For more information, please visit: www.gavialliance.org /

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of GAVI Alliance

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