GAVI To Purchase $1 Billion In Childhood Vaccines For Distribution In 37 Of The Poorest Nations

The Geneva-based GAVI Alliance, a fund backed by governments, the World Bank, the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that it will purchase more than $1 billion in vaccines against rotavirus, pneumococcal and other diseases through deals made with GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. to immunize children in 37 of the poorest nations, Bloomberg reports. “Wealthy nations donated $4.3 billion to purchase the vaccines as part of a plan to immunize 250 million children by 2015,” the news service notes (Bennett, 9/27).

GAVI “said Tuesday that countries in Africa, where the diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, meningitis A and measles have a particularly devastating toll, will be the main recipients of the aid,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (9/27). “GAVI said its rollout of rotavirus vaccines in Africa had started, in Sudan, and Tuesday’s agreements meant funding will now be available for these shots to go to children in 12 more African countries,” Reuters/AlertNet reports (Kelland, 9/27).