GAVI - The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization

German Scientists, International Leaders in ImmunizationCall for Increased Political Will and Resources to Help ReachEndangered UN Goal of Saving Lives of Children in Developing Countries

Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan and Germany’s Roland Koch, Prime Minister of the Land Hessen, Voice Support for Campaign for Childhood Immunization

Frankfurt, Germany, 12 November 2004—Two key European physician groups—Germany’s Stiftung Präventive Pädiatrie (SPP) and The Society of Independent European Vaccination Experts (SIEVE)—today called on the German government and other governments in Europe to further support efforts to immunize the world’s children against preventable diseases that now kill 1.5 million children a year in developing countries.

Speaking at an international vaccine symposium in Frankfurt on Friday, under the patronage of Frankfurt Major Frau Petra Roth, pediatrician Heinz-Josef Schmitt and his physician colleagues with SPP and SIEVE presented a “Frankfurt Declaration on Child Immunization,” urging Germany and other European nations to raise $400 million a year on behalf of the efforts of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). GAVI partners include national governments, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine industry, public health institutions and NGOs.

“Our message to the governments of industrialized nations is that a commitment in support of immunization will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in the developing world,” Schmitt said. “Germany has a history of being a leader in development assistance, but there is still a lack of awareness here of what vaccines can accomplish."

Tore Godal, Executive Director of GAVI, and Jacques-François Martin, President of The Vaccine Fund, GAVI’s financing arm, said that new funds are urgently needed to stem the tide of premature and completely preventable deaths for the world’s most vulnerable children. “Despite great progress in the past fifty years in some parts of the world, much more still needs to be done in others. Today, 1 out of every 6 children born in sub-Saharan African dies before the age of five, compared to 1 out of every 143 children in the industrialized countries,” said Godal. Since it was launched with The Vaccine Fund in 2000, GAVI has provided support for immunizing nearly 45 million of the world’s poorest children with new vaccines.

“We need to raise more funds and bring additional public and private resources to the table if we are to meet the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals – especially the target aimed at reducing the number of children who die every year,1 ” added Martin. “Unless the amount of available aid increases dramatically and, as importantly, is used effectively, these goals will end up as just another set of worthy but unmet commitments.”

Calling on leaders of industrialized countries to demonstrate the political will to contribute new funding, Martin stressed that more than 30 million children still miss out on immunization during their first year of life, and that vaccine-preventable diseases kill more than 2 million people every year, including 1.5 million children. Pointing to advances in research, Martin also noted that more than 2 million additional deaths could be averted for diseases for which vaccines are currently under development, such as meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus diarrhoea.

Schmitt and his colleagues with the SPP and SIEVE called on individuals and governments of industrialized nations to support The Vaccine Fund’s Global Campaign for Childhood Immunization. He noted that in industrialized countries, news of rare complications of vaccines have replaced awareness of the disease itself. “Right before World War II, for example, in 1938-39, almost 11,000 children died in Germany from just three diseases that are vaccine preventable today – i.e. pertussis, measles and diphtheria. Imagine the reality in developing countries that lack access to the vaccines that have saved the lives of so many children here.”

A leadership dinner will follow the symposium and press conference, under the patronage of Nelson Mandela, President of the Board of The Vaccine Fund, Queen Rania, member of the board, and the Prime Minister of the Land Hessen, Herr Roland Koch.

About GAVI and The Vaccine Fund: The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) is a public-private partnership focused on increasing access to vaccines among children in poor countries. Partners include national governments, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the vaccine industry, public health institutions and NGOs. The Vaccine Fund is the financing resource created to support the GAVI immunization goals, providing financial support directly to low-income countries to strengthen their health delivery and immunization services and to purchase new and under-used vaccines.

About SPP and SIEVE: The “Stiftung Präventive Pädiatrie” at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany, is a foundation that aims at improving the health of children by facilitating the collection and distribution of knowledge in the various fields of preventive medicine. In accordance with its constitution as a non-profit organization, as well as with the constitution of the Johannes-Gutenberg-University on the appropriate use of financial support, the Stiftung has set up a Board of key independent European vaccination experts, who meet regularly for “Summits of Independent European Vaccination Experts” (“SIEVE”) in order to evaluate vaccine needs, current research and vaccination policies. The overall aim of the group is to enhance disease control by collating and disseminating independent scientific information and advice on vaccination, taking into account national circumstances.

1 To reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015

For information, contact:

Coimbra Sirica
Tel: +1 631 757 4027

Stéphanie Lamarque
Tel : +33 68923 69 88

Anne Winter
Tel: + 41 22 909 5449

Additional resources:

About GAVI and The Vaccine Fund

About SPP and SIEVE

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