UNICEF Buys 450 Million Vaccines for 80 Countries
Pentavalent vaccine helps avoid 5.7 million deaths
With a price below $1 a dose, UNICEF has successfully secured a five-in-one vaccine for children. This price is 50 percent of the price the agency currently pays.
UNICEF will now buy 450 million vaccine doses for 80 countries over the next three years.
The vaccine, pentavalent, protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type B, all of which are potentially deadly infections.
The doses will be distributed to transitioning countries and those supported by Gavi, the international organization that works with public and private sectors to bring vaccinations to children living in the world’s poorest countries.
According to Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s supply and procurement headquarters, as many as 90 percent of children under the age of five who die from vaccine-preventable diseases are currently living in countries where donors are no longer fully funding vaccination supplies.
“For the most vulnerable children in the world, pricing can make a difference between life and death,” she said.
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, says that the organization estimates about 5.7 million deaths will be avoided between 2011 and 2020, thanks to the pentavalent vaccine.
“The market for five-in-one vaccines is now a lot healthier than it was just a few years ago thanks to our collective efforts to grow a base of vaccine supplies,” he said.
He reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to improving vaccine markets in order to “ensure immunization investments and efforts are sustainable for all.”