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Vaccine plan for poorest countries

4th December 2006

15082006_africainject1.jpgAn international group has launched a US$200 million campaign to speed up the delivery of affordable vaccines to the world's poorest people.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) plans to help developing countries buy three new vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcus, which together kill around 1.5 million children annually.

Rotavirus vaccines Rotateq and Rotarix have already been approved for use in Europe and are undergoing trials in Asian and African countries, while the pneumococcus vaccine Prevenar has already proven effective around the world.

Rotavirus causes diarrhoea and vomiting, whilst pneumococcus is a major cause of pneumonia, meningitis and blood poisoning.

GAVI will fund vaccine purchases once the three vaccines have World Health Organisation approval, expected by 2008. It hopes the initiative will cut child deaths by nearly four million by 2025.

The means-tested scheme will be offered to the world's 27 poorest countries, with an annual per capita income of less than US $1,000. It aims to cut the time it takes for new vaccines to reach developing countries from the current average of 10 years, to just one or two years.

Funding for the scheme will come from a variety of donors, including 10 governments, and will go towards vaccine purchase and delivery, technical assistance to help countries decide whether to introduce a vaccine, surveillance activities both before and after vaccine introduction, research into vaccine demand, and communications activities to inform countries and their partners of a vaccine's potential.

 

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