GAVI Alliance on track with child vaccination goals

The GAVI Alliance is on track to meet its goal to expand immunizations in developing countries to an additional 243 million children before 2015, which could save approximately 4 million lives, according to a report released on Monday.

The gap between immunizations administered in developing countries compared to those administered in wealthier countries continued to close over the last several years. In one Kenyan district, the number of children who were hospitalized with pneumococcal disease shrank from 38 to zero over the last three years due to increased access to immunizations.

"Increasing vaccine launches is just the start of the journey," GAVI CEO Dr. Seth Berkley said. "As more countries introduce powerful new vaccines, the challenge shifts to increasing and sustaining immunization coverage and making it more equitable."

GAVI Alliance led 67 separate vaccination campaigns since 2011 and received $125 million in co-financing during that time.

"Vaccines are already widely recognized as one of the most cost-effective public health tools, but we cannot rest until all children, regardless of where they live, have access to the best possible protection against vaccine-preventable diseases," Berkley said. "That means access to all 11 of the vaccines that the (World Health Organization) recommends every child should have. Every child deserves a healthy future."