GAVI launches private sector initiative to vaccinate unreached children

The GAVI Alliance launched an initiative on Thursday to help immunize children in areas where non-existent refrigeration, poor transportation and weak stock management previously prevented the delivery of vaccines.

GAVI will partner with global corporations and foundation funders to overcome roadblocks in product delivery. The organization invited additional private sector participation while announcing the initiative before hundreds of corporate and global development leaders during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meetings.

"Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective healthcare interventions ever invented, but they can become unusable due to supply chain failures, requiring innovative ways to store and transport them," Seth Berkley, the CEO of GAVI, said. "GAVI is committed to deliver on its promise to immunize an additional quarter billion people by 2015. We know that the private sector can help us reach previously unreached children and save many more lives."

GAVI will measure the impact of the initiative through tracking vaccine availability, wastage rates and vaccine utilization rates. Approximately 20 percent of the world's children go unvaccinated, resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths annually.

"The ability to rapidly respond to problems in the vaccine supply chain will be transformative," Berkley said. "We hope this will enable us to reach many of the children who have missed out because they live in places where vaccines don't make it through the system."

GAVI will work to create a Supply Chain Centre of Excellence with multiple global corporations to come up with solutions to GAVI's toughest vaccine delivery challenges. The organization is currently in discussions with multiple corporations to join the center.

"The need to reach the unreached with vaccines is at the core of GAVI's mission, bringing equity in immunization to children everywhere," Berkley said. "Supply chains in developing countries are under immense pressure as demand grows and vaccines become more complex. Improvements in the supply chain are critical to reduce the barriers that keep kids from being immunized."