GAVI CEO discusses vision for future of vaccines

Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, spoke on Monday about his vision for the future of vaccines and how his organization plays a role in this landscape of technological innovation.

Berkley made the remarks on the second day of the U.N. Foundation Global Press Issues Fellowship in New York. He said GAVI sees a future in which every child has access to all 11 lifesaving vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization, regardless of wealth, gender or location.

"Today, vaccine coverage against these 11 antigens in the world's 73 poorest countries is only about five percent," Berkley said. "Measuring success towards having fully immunized children around the world may be a good indicator to use for the next Millennium Development Goals."

Berkley said GAVI is looking to the future of vaccine storage and delivery methods, with hopes of using new developments to reduce waste and ensure vaccines are effective and safe. He said technology could solve the challenges of keeping vaccines at a low and stable temperature in developing countries.

"We want to think about different ways to solve cold chain issues," Berkley said. "And we are working with countries to make sure they have access to the technology needed. The goal is to reach the 5th child, the child that lives in hard to reach places."

The core of Berkley's message was the need to build upon the achievements of global health to make further progress. He said the international community must maintain commitments to existing vaccine programs, such as completing the introduction of pentavalent vaccine to all 73 GAVI countries.