FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

European Commission increases contribution to GAVI Alliance Replenishment

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, pledged on Tuesday to increase the European Union's contribution to the GAVI Alliance Replenishment to $240 million for 2014-2020.

The announcement was made at the GAVI Alliance Replenishment launch event.

The pledge is the first response to the organization's request for additional funding for its investment opportunity over the next five years and is a substantial increase over the $53 million the EU contributed in the previous period.

GAVI uses its funding to help countries immunize children. Full funding will give them the opportunity to immunize an additional 300 million children, saving six million lives.

"Today, less than 5% of children are fully protected with the 11 vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization," Dr. Seth Berkley, the CEO of GAVI, said at the launch event in Brussels. "In the next period, we will be able to move from 5% to 50%."

The Alliance model relies on contributions from developing countries, vaccine manufacturers and donors.

"This will also protect the investments that have been made and pave the way for sustainability," Berkley said.

Mulatu Teshome, the president of Ethiopia, also spoke at the event on the effect investments in immunization have on developing countries.

"Just two weeks ago, African leaders promised to prioritize sustainable immunization programs," Teshome said. "It clearly demonstrates the role that African leaders are playing in the GAVI Alliance."