Merlin urges British government, GAVI to aid fragile states with vaccines

The British charity Medical Emergency Relief International, known as Merlin, recently urged the British government and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization to do more to help fragile states.

Fragile states are not prioritized or even meaningfully supported within GAVI, the international body of which the U.K. is the largest government donor, according to

Merlin points to a recent GAVI initiative designed to raise $3.7 billion to help disperse new pneumoccol and rotovirus vaccines that target pneumonia and diarrhea, the leading cause of death of children in the third world.

According to Merlin, the combined cost of the program, without administration fees, will reach $31 per child. Countries like Afghanistan, however, can only afford to spend approximately $15 per person per year on health care needs.

GAVI’s demand-driven model, Merlin contends, is unworkable because it requires recipient countries to put forth too much of their own money to cover costs. Merlin says it is next to impossible for these new vaccines to reach the countries that need them the most.

Merlin is calling for the U.K. government to demand that GAVI focus more on fragile states and for GAVI itself to radically change its eligibility requirements in order to give crisis countries more support.

“The UK government could - and should - lead the world in seizing this opportunity to save the lives of the most vulnerable children,” Merlin’s Director of Health and Policy Linda Doull said, according to  “This is not only about addressing the greatest needs, it’s also about ensuring the most efficient use of UK aid.”