A record 50 GAVI eligible countries have applied for vaccine funding from the GAVI Alliance during the organisation’s latest application round – the number of countries is nearly double the previous record in 2007 when 27 countries requested support to introduce new or underused vaccines.
The increased demand highlights how developing countries are increasingly prepared to expand routine immunisation programmes and introduce new vaccines to save the lives of children and protect against illness and disability.
Countries were able to apply for GAVI support for the introduction of pneumococcal, rotavirus, pentavalent, meningitis A, yellow fever, or measles second dose vaccines. Of the 75 funding applications that were submitted, the majority were for two vaccines that protect against the biggest causes of pneumonia and diarrhoea.
“If we are able to fully fund these applications and support countries in the battle to fight these two killers, we can make a serious and positive impact on the lives of millions of children,” said Helen Evans, GAVI’s interim CEO.
GAVI had previously approved financial support for the introduction of pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines in 19 and 5 countries respectively. The Alliance’s first pledging conference on 13 June aims to raise the necessary funds required by countries and to fulfill its ambitious goal of immunising nearly a quarter billion children by 2015.
As part of their application, countries must commit to co-finance the purchase of the vaccines, and more and more countries are responding positively. In 2010, ten countries paid more than required and GAVI expects co-financing to triple from current levels to a total US$ 100 million in 2015.
“The evident commitment from developing countries to step up introduction of vaccines, combined with strong donor support, will take us further down the road towards achieving the child survival goals,” said Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Every child deserves protection with the best that science can offer,” she said.