Gavi helps to protect against measles through four types of support
The Vaccine Alliance is working to counter the measles resurgence in four main ways:
1. Measles second dose
Countries can get support to introduce a second dose of measles vaccine into the routine system.
Providing a second opportunity for measles vaccination is a powerful tool to reach children who missed the first dose. It also produces measles immunity in the small number of persons who failed to develop it after the first dose.
2. Measles supplementary immunisation activities (catch-up campaigns)
In 2012, Gavi approved support for measles catch-up campaigns for six “high-risk” countries. Afghanistan, Chad, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Pakistan have received this type of support. From the September 2016 application round, this funding was extended to all Gavi-supported countries that need it.
3. Measles-rubella vaccine
Gavi provides support for the measles-rubella (MR) vaccine. This includes wide-age-range (9 month–14 year) catch-up campaigns with the vaccine. Countries then finance and introduce the MR vaccine into their routine immunisation systems.
4. Measles outbreak response
Gavi provides US$ 55 million to the Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI, formerly the Measles Initiative) for the 2013–2017 period. The funding is used for outbreak response in Gavi-supported countries.
M&RI is a global partnership committed to ensuring no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. It is led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and WHO. The M&RI aims to reach the measles and rubella elimination goals of the Global Vaccine Action Plan.
New measles and rubella strategy
Over the past five years, measles vaccine coverage has stagnated in Gavi-supported countries at around 78%. At the same time, the number of outbreaks has increased – both in developing and industrialised countries.
In 2015, the Gavi Board approved a new strategy designed to reverse this trend and put countries back on track to control measles and rubella. Immunisation experts guiding the rethink include representatives from WHO, UNICEF, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The new strategy came into effect ahead of the September 2016 application round. It puts routine immunisation at the centre of a comprehensive approach to tackling measles and rubella.
The new approach extends our support to include measles second dose and measles-rubella first and second dose. It also:
- shifts support for campaigns from six large countries to all Gavi-supported countries that need it;
- funds periodic follow-up measles or measles-rubella vaccine campaigns in all Gavi-supported countries; and
- encourages better planned, more data-driven campaigns.
Gavi’s past investment in measles campaigns
In the 2004–2008 period, Gavi provided US$ 176 million to the Measles Initiative for measles campaigns. This support contributed to averting 860,000 future deaths.