The pneumococcal and measles second dose vaccines are now a permanent fixture on Zambia’s vaccination cards. It is expected that the vaccines will reach more than 360,000 infants in the next 12 months, and is expected to reach 95 percent of the 650,000 children born by 2015. The two vaccines will play a key role in fighting infant mortality in Zambia.
The pneumococcal vaccine protects against one of the major causes of pneumonia, which is the leading killer of children in developing countries. Measles is also a serious issue, as seen in the 2010 outbreak where more than 15,000 cases were reported.
Zambia, with GAVI support, is the 10th country to introduce the measles second dose vaccine. GAVI plans to get the measles vaccine to 41 million children by 2015. Since 2010, GAVI has helped 29 countries include the pneumococcal vaccine in their vaccinations. Zambia is the fifth to do it this year.
In the past, it has taken up to two decades for children in developing countries to receive vaccines readily available for children in industrialized countries. GAVI Alliance’s Advance Market Commitment program has helped reduce this time different significantly.