GAVI Alliance CEO delivers address on immunizations

Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, spoke on Friday about the public-private partnership's goal to reach an additional 250 million children with immunizations by 2015.

Berkley made the statement during the inaugural lecture at the Wellcome Trust - Cambridge Center for Global Health Research at Cambridge's packed Howard Theatre. During the speech, Berkley explained how GAVI works and why the organization is critical to the uptake and co-financing of immunization costs. He also brought attention to GAVI's work to close the gaps in immunization between children in rich and poor countries.

GAVI is focused on shortening the time it takes to get newer vaccines to children in the developing world, including the pneumococcal vaccine. Pneumonia is the largest vaccine-preventable killer of children under five in the entire world.

GAVI is a partnership that brings together UNICEF, the World Health Organization, donor and recipient countries, non-governmental organizations, technical research institutes, vaccine manufacturers and skilled individuals to immunize children.

Berkley said he hoped the audience would think about the ongoing challenges of vaccination.

"It was an honor to give the inaugural lecture at the Wellcome Trust - Cambridge Center for Global Health Research and a privilege to be able to share the exciting work we are undertaking at GAVI," Berkley said. "We sincerely hope the audience will be stimulated to think about the challenges we face in reaching unreached children with vaccines and how they can use the university's focus on Africa and science and technology to help solve some of these problems."

Berkley challenged scientists at the university to use the school's focus on extending work in Africa to solve some of the major challenges facing immunization throughout the continent.