Angola rolls out pneumococcal vaccination program for children

Angola celebrated June 3 as it officially began its pneumococcal vaccination program for children under five years old, as part of the GAVI Alliance's vision to see developing nations gain access to the vaccine.

Angola is the 28th country to gain access to the pneumococcal vaccine through the GAVI Alliance's initiative since 2010. It is the fourth country to begin the initiative this year. By 2015 the GAVI Alliance plans to have 50 countries join the initiative to protect its children from pneumococcal, the leading cause of pneumonia.

"Vaccines are a vital tool to protect the lives of children and give them the opportunity to grow up to become healthy and productive adults contributing to their country's economic development," CEO of GAVI Alliance Dr. Seth Berkley said. "It's great to see Angola investing in its children by introducing pneumococcal vaccine, which offers protection against one of the major causes of pneumonia, the leading vaccine-preventable killer of children under five worldwide."

The initiative to vaccinate all children under five years old in Angola will become national in the coming months and will ideally decrease the rate of infant mortality in the country by protecting children from pneumonia, the leading cause of death in children under five years old worldwide.

The initiative was made possible in-part by the Advance Market Commitment, which aims to give developing nations access to critical vaccinations at an affordable rate and in a reasonable amount of time. Previously developing nations would gain access to a new vaccine twenty years after their peers in developed nations gained access to them.

The World Bank and UNICEF Supply Division fund the AMC. The Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Canada and Italy pledged to contribute $1.5 billion to the initiative, making such programs possible.