With an Additional US $1 Billion Per Year Immunization Could Save Ten Million More Lives in a Decade
By 2015, More Than 70 Million
Children in the World's Poorest Countries Will Be Protected Each Year
Against 14 Major Childhood Diseases
9 December 2005 - New Delhi — According to
global immunization experts, ten million additional lives could be
saved through child and maternal immunization between 2006-2015 at an
average annual cost of US $1 billion, according to a new study by the
World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The estimated US $2.5
billion current annual spending on immunization in the poorest
countries would need to increase to US $3.5 billion by 2010 and US $4
billion by 2015 to reach this goal.
The study presented today at the GAVI Partners'
Meeting, taking place in New Delhi from 7-9 December, covers the
potential impact that immunization can have over the next decade and
outlines the financing requirements needed to make this a reality in
"Immunization is one of the best values for public
health investment today: adequate resources and the right strategies
lead to concrete results. We have achieved much progress already
through immunization, but much more can and should be done. WHO,
through GAVI and with partners, such as UNICEF, is looking to achieve a
massive impact in lives saved through immunization over the next
decade," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General, WHO.
The new study follows on the WHO/UNICEF Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (
adopted this spring. The document lays out a number of goals such as
raising immunization coverage levels to 90%, and reducing
vaccinepreventable illness and deaths by two-thirds by 2015. It
provides strategies that countries and global immunization partners may
use to reach such goals.
If countries achieve these goals, by 2015, more
than 70 million children who live in the world’s poorest countries will
receive each year life-saving vaccines against the following diseases:
tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, rubella, yellow
fever, haemophilus influenzae type B, hepatitis B, polio, rotavirus, pneumococcus, meningococcus, and Japanese encephalitis.
Immunization is essential to achieve the Millennium
Development Goals of substantially reducing the child and maternal
The study examined the cost, financing and impact
of immunization programmes in the 72 poorest countries, which have a
Gross National Income of less than US $1000 per year
1. The estimated total price tag for immunization activities in 2006-2015 in these countries is US $35 billion.
One third of the US $35 billion will be spent on
vaccines. The total amount spent on vaccines will rise from about US
$350 million in 2005 to nearly US $1.5 billion per year by 2015, as
coverage is expanded with underused vaccines
2, and new
vaccines3 are introduced. The remainder will be spent on immunization
delivery systems including shared costs that strengthen the overall
health system to improve immunization coverage in the 72 GAVI supported
countries. The objective is to reach 90% coverage by 2015 from less
than 70% today. US $2.2 billion will go towards immunization campaigns,
such as those for polio, measles and tetanus.
"Immunization is critical in reducing overall
child deaths. This new study shows that we can achieve a significant
reduction in deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases with a modest
increase in funds," said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. "Of
the more than 10 million children under five who die every year, an
estimated 2.5 millidiseases that can be prevented with currently
available or new vaccines."
Spending on vaccines in the 72 poorest countries
supported by GAVI doubled from US $2.50 per child in 2000 to more than
US $5.00 per child in 2005. "We have brought substantial new resources
to immunization and this has had a catalytic effect on spending. But
millions of children still lack access to immunization and the most
basic health care. This enormous gap must be addressed," said Dr Julian
Lob-Levyt, Executive Secretary, GAVI Alliance. "Unprecedented new
resources from the International Financing Facility for Immunization
will allow us to achieve much more. Of the US $35 billion needed for
the 72 poorest countries in the next decade, there is a US $10-15
billion funding shortfall if we are to achieve the goal of saving 10
million more lives."
The poorest countries currently finance, on
average, one-third of their immunization expenses. Immunization is a
global public good and until these countries are able to take on a
greater proportion of their immunization expenses, it is in the
interest of resource-rich countries to cover some of the long-term
costs. In an interconnected global community, there is increasing
vulnerability to the spread of disease, making immunization even more
In addition to providing protection to children
from vaccine-preventable diseases, immunization programmes also serve
as a platform to strengthen health systems and to deliver other
life-saving interventions such as those against malnutrition, malaria
and intestinal worms.
1 These 72 countries are eligible for immunization support from the GAVI Alliance.
2 Hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), rubella and yellow fever 3 Pneumococcus, rotavirus, meningitis A and Japanese encephalitis.
For further information, please
contact: Melinda Henry, WHO, Geneva (in Delhi, 9 December); Mobile: +41
79 477 17 38; Tel: +41 22 791 2535, Fax: +41 22 791 4227, E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org; or Katey Grusovin, UNICEF, India, Tel. +91 981
053 0715; E-mail: email@example.com; or Nicole King, GAVI Alliance
Tel: + 1 (202) 478 1041, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.