GAVI, GPEI work together to introduce IPV

The GAVI Alliance and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are working together to introduce the inactivated polio vaccine in the 73 poorest countries in the world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Tuesday.

While every country in the world is using or has used the oral polio vaccine to help get to the threshold of eradication, the foundation said the inactivated polio vaccine will help the world pass that threshold. Part of the comprehensive plan to achieve a polio-free world by 2018 requires that all countries introduce IPV by the end of 2015.

Until recently, the world's poorest countries weren't able to introduce IPV into their routine immunization schedules because a single dose of IPV cost approximately 15 to 20 times more than a single OPV dose.

A new arrangement between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance and the pharmaceutical industry will significantly reduce the price of IPV for the world's poorest countries. GAVI will work with the GPEI to help the 73 poorest countries purchase and deliver the vaccines to their children.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the new arrangement is a major step toward both polio eradication and global health equity.

The GAVI Alliance has helped to negotiate lower prices for vaccines against rotavirus, pneumonia and other preventable child-killing diseases and worked with poor countries to introduce the vaccines into their immunization systems.