Minister Vajpayee Launches New Initiative To Vaccinate Children Against
NEW DELHI/NEW YORK/GENEVA, 10 June 2002.
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today launched a new initiative that
will bring hepatitis B vaccine to children in slum areas in 15 cities
and 32 rural districts. The pilot project will initially provide
hepatitis B vaccination to about two million eligible infants. The
project is to be expanded in a phased manner during the Tenth Five-Year
Plan, so that hepatitis B vaccination can be integrated into the routine
immunisation services and strengthen them.
receive assistance to the tune of 4.1 million (US) dollars over the next
two years from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI)
and the Vaccine Fund, based on an application from the Indian government
and partners. The funds have been awarded to support the introduction of
the hepatitis B vaccine into Indias immunisation program, which does
not currently include the vaccine.
part of the new initiative is the introduction of auto-disable (AD)
syringes which have an in-built mechanism to prevent their re-use and
thus prevent the spread of diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV. WHO,
UNICEF, UNFPA and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
have adopted a global policy on injection safety, urging the use of
auto-disable syringes for all immunisation by the end of 2003.
The goal of
GAVI and the Vaccine Fund is to close the gap between the developed and
developing world in access to vaccines, said Carol Bellamy, Chair of
the GAVI Board and UNICEF Executive Director. It is about reaching
every child, everywhere with the vaccines they need.
GAVI and Vaccine Fund support is limited to select areas in India, it is
intended as an initial step towards introducing the hepatitis B vaccine
into the routine immunisation programme.
that these funds are a catalyst to expand access to hepatitis B vaccine
for all children in India, said Jacques François Martin, the President
of the Vaccine Fund. The Fund was created to ensure that all of the
worlds people, no matter how rich or how poor, have equal access to
is a significant public health concern in India. It is estimated that
60% of liver diseases are due to hepatitis B infection and 80% of liver
cancer cases in India are due to hepatitis B. The challenge of hepatitis
B, like AIDS, is that it is hidden and its debilitating impact takes a
long time to emerge. The difference is that there is an effective
vaccine for hepatitis B.
and other vaccine preventable diseases take a terrible emotional and
economic toll on families, villages and countries, said William H.
Gates Sr, Co-chair, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through GAVI,
we have the tools needed to get vaccines to those most in need. But,
this is not possible without the commitment of governments and health
care providers. We applaud the Indian government for their leadership
role in making health a top priority.
Fund was established to address the need for new and underused vaccines
in the worlds poorest countries those with per capita GNP below
$1,000. The Fund provides resources for immunisation services as well as
for purchasing new and under-used vaccines against diseases such as
hepatitis B, yellow fever and haemophilus influenza B (hib). The Vaccine
Fund mobilises resources to serve the mission of GAVI.
Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) is a coalition of
organisations whose mission is to reduce the widening disparities in
vaccine access between industrialised and developing countries, and
increase global immunisation coverage. The GAVI partners include:
national governments, the Children's Vaccine Program at PATH, the
International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations
(IFPMA), research and public health institutions, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF, the World Bank
Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).
For further information please contact:
Athreya, UNICEF, Tel : 4690401, e-mail:
Varde-Naqvi, UNICEF,Tel : 4690401, e-mail:
Krishna, PATH, Tel : 4635745, e-mail:
Jacobs, GAVI Secretariat, +41 22 909 5042,
Larson, Tel: +1 646 207 5179,
Jalloh, +1 212 326 7516,