GAVI seeks to raise vaccination funds

An advocacy group attempting to raise $3.7 billion has been created by the Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunization in an effort to make up for a shortfall resulting from the global financial crisis and reduced donor contributions.

The group is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2011 and will consist of human-right activists lobbying government leaders for money, Bloomberg reports. GAVI was co-founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“This group will speak to presidents and prime ministers about how cost-effective it is to ensure health through immunization,” Mary Robinson, the former Irish president and outgoing chairwoman of the alliance, said, according to Bloomberg. “We have a strong advocacy case. We believe at the next fundraising meeting in June, we will get all the $3.7 billion and more.”

GAVI says that it needs $7 billion over the next five years in an effort to fund immunization that may reduce child mortality by 40 percent and prevent 3.9 million deaths by 2015, Bloomberg reports. GAVI has raised $2.7 million  by selling bonds since it was founded in 2002.

The organization plans to release a pneumonia vaccine in 13 countries in an attempt to save as many as 900,000 lives by 2015. Pneumonia is the largest killer of children worldwide.