Gavi's impact

With our support, pentavalent vaccine is available in the world's 73 poorest countries

Over 404 million children immunised by the end of 2017

Pentavalent vaccine protects against five major infections: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).


In July 2014, South Sudan introduced pentavalent vaccine – the 73rd and final Gavi-supported country to do so. Kenya was the first to launch the vaccine with Gavi support in 2001.

In 2000, fewer than 10% of low-income countries had introduced hepatitis B vaccine. Less than 5% had launched the Hib vaccine as part of their immunisation programmes. Today, all the world's poorest countries have introduced the two vaccines as part of the pentavalent vaccine.

Pentavalent vaccine coverage in Gavi-supported countries increased from 1% in 2000 to 80% in 2017. By the end of the year, more than 404 million children had been immunised with Gavi-funded pentavalent vaccines.

The issue

Hib and hepatitis B are major killers of young children

Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer - one of the most lethal types of cancer

Hib and hepatitis B are major killers of young children

Hepatitis B can cause liver cancer - one of the most lethal types of cancer

Pentavalent vaccine is a successor to the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine. Gavi started offering the vaccine in 2001 to boost the low uptake of hepatitis B and Hib vaccines in developing countries by making them part of routine immunisation programmes.

Haemophilus influenzae type b

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a deadly bacterium which can cause meningitis, pneumonia and septicaemia. It is responsible for approximately 200,000 child deaths every year.

In developing countries, where the vast majority of Hib deaths occur, the disease leaves up to 35% of survivors with disabilities.

Learn more about Hib support


Hepatitis B is a viral infection. For some people, it is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others it can become a long-term, chronic infection. It claims more than 880,000 lives every year through chronic and acute liver disease.

Babies and young children are most at risk from hepatitis B. The virus often passes from mother to child before or shortly after birth. This puts victims at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer later in life.

An estimated 257 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B.

Learn more about hepatitis B support

Gavi's response

Increasing coverage while reducing the number of shots

Ensuring secure and sustainable supplies of pentavalent vaccines at affordable prices

Pentavalent combines five different vaccines in a single vial. It protects against five diseases: diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).


Gavi began offering the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine to countries in 2001. The goal was to boost the low uptake of Hib and hepatitis B vaccines by making them part of routine immunisation programmes in developing countries. Since 2012, we support hepatitis B and Hib vaccines only as part of the pentavalent vaccine.


Offering hepatitis B and Hib vaccines as part of a five-in-one pentavalent vaccine does not only improve coverage. It also means that children only need three shots – instead of the previous nine – to get the same protection.

Other advantages include:

  • widespread protection is achieved quickly and safely;
  • shipping costs are lower;
  • with fewer syringes to dispose of, environmental impact is reduced; and
  • fewer injections mean less distress and inconvenience for children and parents.


The pentavalent success story reflects the strengths of Gavi’s public-private partnership model. UNICEF’s Supply Division has met demand for over one billion doses. WHO and UNICEF have helped countries decide when and how to introduce the vaccine.

Industry has increased global production capacity from 20 to 400 million doses. At the same time, innovation in formulation and packaging has helped to reduce the strain on immunisation cold chains.


The past 17 years have seen significant reductions in the price of the pentavalent vaccine. Our significant buying power has provided incentives to manufacturers to lower their prices.

The average price Gavi pays for pentavalent vaccine dropped from US$ 2.98 in 2010 to US$ 0.88 in 2017. It is expected to decrease further to US$ 0.79 by 2019. Until recently, the vaccine cost more than US$ 30 per dose in the US public market.

The Vaccine Alliance has also encouraged new suppliers to enter the market, including those based in emerging markets. Expanding the supplier base has significantly increased supply security for the vaccine.

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