GAVI Alliance receives major discount on bulk rotavirus vaccine

The GAVI Alliance recently secured a deal to procure a large amount of rotavirus vaccine from GalxoSmithKline and Merck, which will cut the regular price for the medication by nearly two-thirds.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization expects to be able to distribute the vaccine doses to poorer countries for approximately five dollars per course, amounting to a total savings of $650 million.

The rotavirus vaccine is used to combat a major cause of childhood diarrhea, which is considered to be the largest killer of children under the age of five. In 2009, the World Health Organization recommended that all countries include a rotavirus vaccine in their national immunization programs. Many poorer countries, however, remain unable to afford to, according to Reuters.

GAVI announced that the deal would allow it to provide three million children with immunizations in at least eight countries. The previous discount price offered to GAVI was $15 a course. In the United States, the same course would cost public health institutions $177 and private health providers $213.

"We strive to make our donors' funds go further so we can help developing countries protect more children against deadly diseases," GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said, Reuters reports.