Dr Cyrus Poonawalla congratulated for life-long commitment to boosting vaccine coverage in the world’s poorest countries.

MTR Vaccine Hero award

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gavi Board Chair, and Dr Seth Berkley, Gavi CEO, present Dr Cyrus Poonawalla with the inaugural Vaccine Hero award at Gavi’s mid-term review in Abu Dhabi. Credit: Gavi/2018/Oscar Saykens.

Abu Dhabi, 11 December 2018 – Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder of Serum Institute of India (SII) and Chairman of Poonawalla Group, has been given the first ever Vaccine Hero award by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

The Vaccine Hero award was inaugurated to celebrate global figures whose dedication to the Vaccine Alliance’s mission has played a key role in helping Gavi and its partners to protect hundreds of millions of children across the world

“Since Gavi’s inception Cyrus has been a steadfast supporter of Gavi’s mission,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Under his leadership Serum has become the largest supplier of vaccines to the developing world, protecting hundreds of millions of children in the world’s poorest countries against killer diseases like measles, diphtheria and meningitis. Gavi simply would not have had the impact we’ve had without them. He is a worthy winner of this inaugural Vaccine Hero award.”

“I am truly humbled to receive this recognition for the humanitarian work that we have been doing at Serum Institute for the last five decades,” said Dr Cyrus Poonawalla. “it is recognition such as today’s that gives me and my team the strength to commit and continue the humanitarian work by making available immunobiologicals and vaccines at the most affordable prices to support the great efforts made by Gavi and other UN Agencies worldwide, especially now for much needed newer vaccines, such as Pneumonia, Rotavirus, Meningitis, HPV and Dengue.”

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla founded Serum Institute of India in 1966 and built it into the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, supplying more than one billion doses of vaccines per year to children in 170 countries around the world at affordable prices.

SII now supplies 40% of the vaccines funded by Gavi. Over the Alliance’s 2016-2020 strategic period, SII will provide more than half a billion doses for Gavi-supported vaccine programmes protecting children against nine diseases – measles, rubella, meningitis A, rotavirus and, through pentavalent vaccine, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B.

The award was presented at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi as part of Gavi’s mid-term review, a high-level conference celebrating Gavi’s progress and impact in the world’s poorest countries. By the end of 2018, Gavi will have contributed to the immunisation of 700 million people and the prevention of more than 10 million future deaths. This has contributed to an acceleration in the decline of global under-five mortality rates and brought wider impact beyond immunisation.

As well as reviewing progress made since the last Gavi replenishment in Berlin in 2015, this high-level conference is also an opportunity to shape Gavi’s future and help overcome the challenges preventing children from receiving the full course of recommended vaccines. Immunisation is a cost effective and high impact intervention that is core to primary health care and provides a robust platform to deliver better health for all.

 

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is supported by donor governments (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Korea, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the State of Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States), the European Commission, Alwaleed Philanthropies, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as well as private and corporate partners (Absolute Return for Kids, Anglo American plc., The Audacious Project, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, China Merchants Group, Comic Relief, Deutsche Post DHL, the ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation, Girl Effect, The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), the Gulf Youth Alliance, JP Morgan, “la Caixa” Foundation, LDS Charities, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Majid Al Futtaim, Orange, Philips, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, UPS and Vodafone).

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