Up to 4.8 million children in Pakistan will receive GlaxoSmithKline's Synflorix during the country's national immunisation programme to protect against pneumococcal disease.
GSK will supply the vaccine at a 90 per cent discount through the non-profit Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization's (GAVI) advanced market commitment.
This provides incentives for manufacturers to produce large quantities of vaccines in return for a commitment from participating companies they will provide vaccines at lower and sustainable prices.
Pakistan now becomes the first country in South Asia to introduce the pneumococcal vaccine, in what GSK describe as the “largest universal mass vaccination programme against pneumococcal disease worldwide”.
Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of pneumonia, which kills about 1.3 million children globally before they reach the age of five.
In Pakistan, about 27,000 currently children die from pneumococcal diseases, with the vaccine predicted to save tens of thousands of lives from preventable sickness and death.
"I am pleased that GAVI's strong financial commitment is being matched by the will of the Pakistan government to tackle a disease that needlessly claims the lives of tens of thousands of Pakistani children every year,” said Helen Evans, deputy CEO of the GAVI Alliance.
Pakistan follows in the footsteps of Kenya and Ethiopia, both of which have introduced Synflorix to their national immunisation programmes under the GAVI Alliance's advanced market commitment, while plans are in place to launch the vaccine in Madagascar and Zambia using the framework.
GSK said it expects pneumococcal vaccines are expected to reach more than 50-GAVI supported countries by 2015.
As agreed between GSK and GAVI Alliance, the pharma company will provide a minimum of 480 million doses of Synflorix to GAVI to help expand immunisation programmes against pneumococcal disease to 73 developing countries by 2023.
The GAVI Alliance also has an agreement in place with Pfizer regarding pneumococcal vaccines, with the US firm supplying 30 million doses of its Prevnar 13 vaccine every year for a 10 year period.