GAVI offers countries new opportunity to apply for life-saving vaccines

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Global immunisation drive forges ahead despite global economic situation 

Geneva, 22 November 2010 - The GAVI Alliance has issued a new call for applications from developing countries keen to protect more of their children from disease with new vaccines (1).

The GAVI Alliance has opened the new application round in anticipation of continuing strong support from its donors, which currently include, among others, 17 countries and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 "GAVI is determined to continue supporting countries with life-saving vaccines. Far too many children in developing countries continue to remain vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases. This new round of applications offers the opportunity for eligible countries to continue reaching more children and save more lives," said Helen Evans, GAVI's interim CEO.

Cost-effective vaccines

Although GAVI is facing a major funding challenge, the Executive Committee of the GAVI Alliance Board felt confident that donors would recognise the importance of these cost-effective vaccines and provide the necessary support to ensure that countries which have applications approved will be able to deliver urgently-needed vaccines.

"Every day, week or month that goes by that we are not able to provide vaccine support to the world's poorest countries is time in which more children die of diseases that can be prevented. This is unacceptable. Immunisation is a highly-cost-effective foundation for strong communities and economies. We must not let up on the pace," added Ms Evans.

To continue its mission to save lives and protect people's health by increasing access to immunisation, GAVI needs to raise approximately US$ 3.7 billion more within the next five years.

GAVI estimates that a fully-funded programme would prevent approximately 4 million future deaths by 2015, and enable the introduction of new vaccines including importantly those that tackle major causes of the world's two biggest killers of children, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

GAVI's first decade

GAVI's successful first decade saw strong commitment from both donors and implementing countries. Together, these countries have directly contributed to the immunisation of 288 million additional children and the prevention of over 5 million premature deaths (2). GAVI's leadership in developing innovative finance mechanisms was key to rapidly scale up immunisation programmes.

Studies have shown that immunisation not only saves lives, but also boosts economies, acting as a key driver of development (3). Increasing immunisation rates is vital to meet the health Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 4 on reducing child mortality.

"We look forward to the continuing engagement from implementing countries. Their leadership is key to the success of immunisation programmes," Ms Evans added.

The deadline for applications is 15 May 2011, allowing approximately six months for countries to prepare proposals. The timely submission of new proposals will provide donors with clear evidence of the level of country demand for new life-saving vaccines when they meet in June for the first GAVI pledging conference.

1. GAVI support for new and underused vaccines support (NVS) includes the following vaccines: Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzaetype b vaccine (Hib), Yellow Fever, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Measles 

2. WHO estimates and projections, 2010

3. A study by researchers with the Harvard School of Public Health estimates that spending on immunisation earns a rate of return of 18 percent. Bloom DE, Canning D, Weston M. The value of vaccination. World Econ. 2005 Jul-Sep; 6(3):15-39.

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