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Global pledge to immunise 300 million children

Commitment made at GAVI Pledging Conference follows criticism of high vaccine prices
angela merkel gavi conference phot by Oscar Seykens 

Angela Merkel at the GAVI Pledging Conference in Berli. GAVI/Oscar Seykens

World leaders have pledged to provide hundreds of million of children in the world's poorest countries with vaccines for life-threatening diseases via the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

Financial commitments of $7.5bn were made at the GAVI Pledging Conference in Berlin this week, which was hosted by German chancellor Angela Merkel.

The pledges will enable countries to immunise a further 300 million children, which is predicted to lead to six million premature deaths being avoided and additional economic benefits of up to $100bn for developing countries.

Speaking at the conference, Merkel said: “There is a long way still to go but today's conference is an important milestone in the work of GAVI for the next few years to come.”

The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) used the build-up to the conference to highlight the high prices of some new vaccines, including shots made by the pharma companies Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to protect against pneumococcal infections.

Pfizer later said it would it would cut the price of Prevenar 13 provided to certain developing nations by 6% and GSK committed to a 10-year price freeze for Synflorix. However, these efforts were dismissed by MSF as “negligible”.

Countries to take art in the GAVI conference included China, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all of which made pledges to the alliance for the first time. China's pledge means that all the emerging economies that make up BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are making financial contributions towards childhood immunisation via GAVI.

Between 2016 and 2020, the alliance predicts that involved countries will allocate around $1.2bn to GAVI-supported programmes through the alliance's co-financing policy, in addition to other funding provided by donors.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

29th January 2015

From: Healthcare

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