Nicaragua begins immunization program

Helen Evans

Nicaragua recently began a routine immunization program to prevent the deadliest forms of pneumonia only a year after the vaccine was introduced in the developing world.

International global health leaders celebrated with the Nicaraguan government over the release of the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, according to GAVIAlliance.org. The event marked the beginning of a routine immunization program for several of the world’s poorest countries.

The event was supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. It marks the beginning of a campaign aimed at Central America this year. Next year, vaccination campaigns will begin in the Middle East and Africa.

Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, kills more than 500,000 children under the age of five annually.

“For every one child who dies of pneumonia, the most common form of serious pneumococcal disease in rich countries, 2,000 die from pneumonia in developing countries,” Helen Evans, the interim CEO of GAVI Alliance, said, according to GAVIAlliance.com. "This is not acceptable.

“The members of the GAVI Alliance are committed to bringing life-saving vaccines to the children who need them the most. This event is the first step in an ambitious plan to introduce this powerful new pneumococcal vaccine in the world’s poorest countries."

Evans also spoke of the GAVI alliance’s upcoming plans and future funding needs.

“GAVI’s efforts in the next five years will significantly focus on tackling the two biggest childhood killers, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases,” Evans said, GAVIAlliance.com reports.

To achieve that end, the GAVI Alliance is looking for an additional $3.7 billion in funding over the next five years.

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