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PRESS RELEASE

20th June 2002

Awards from GAVI and the Vaccine Fund reach nearly $1 billion

Two-year old initiative has reached 80% of eligible countriesParis, France – Meeting in Paris at the Pasteur Institute on 19th and 20th June, the board of the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) assessed its activities after over 2 years of existence and approved a new round of funding awards from the Vaccine Fund to 6 new applicant countries.

GAVI was formed at the end of 1999 as a public-private partnership focused on increasing children's access to vaccines in developing countries at a time when immunization levels were dropping in many countries and some preventable diseases were making a comeback. To help meet GAVI’s immunization goals, The Vaccine Fund was created as a financing mechanism designed to raise new financial resources and make them available to strengthen infrastructure, help introduce new and under-used vaccines and provide safe injection equipment for all vaccines given according to the standard immunization schedule. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF and Chair of the GAVI board underlined the fact that “this new approach has been very positively received by both developing and donor countries as a valuable catalyst to support global immunization efforts”.

Over the last 2 years, 66 out of the 75 countries eligible for GAVI support (those with a per capita GNP of less than $1000) have submitted proposals indicating their planned campaigns and needs in terms of immunization. The Vaccine Fund has already committed $ 830 million over 5 years to 54 countries in immunization programs financing.

The approval of the proposals submitted by Bosnia Herzegovina, Comoros, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Korea and Somalia now brings to 60 out of 75 eligible countries the number of countries supported by the Alliance and the financial commitments of the Vaccine Funds to nearly 1 billion over 5 years.Jacques François Martin, President of the Vaccine Fund, reemphasized the initiative’s results on the ground, after only a little over two years of existence. In that short time span, the Vaccine Fund has been able to “bring financial support to 80% of eligible countries”. He added that “though there is still much to be done, especially with respect to fundraising to ensure the sustainability of our efforts, we are very encouraged by the results already achieved”.

Partners in the Alliance include national governments from developing and industrialized countries, UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank Group, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other foundations, the vaccine industry, research and public health institutions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

The Paris meeting was chaired by Carol Bellamy, and was attended by Dr. Daniel Tarantola, Special Adviser to the Director-General of WHO and Director, Vaccines and Biologicals, WHO, by Pr. Philippe Kourilsky, Director General, Institut Pasteur, by Dr. C. P. Thakur, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, India, by James Christopher Lovelace, Director, Health Nutrition and Population, The World Bank, by Richard Klausner, Executive Director of Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, by Jacques François Martin, President of the Vaccine Fund, and representatives from the vaccine industry, NGOs, public health institutions and donor governments.

“GAVI’s actions are absolutely essential for public health issues in the world. Immunization is the easiest, most efficient and most cost effective mean to save millions of human lives every year. By providing protection to populations at risk, immunization also reduces the danger of diseases spreading to other populations and regions. It is the Pasteur Institute’s duty, as it is for other similar institutions, to intensify their research programs to improve current vaccines and develop new ones” stated Professor Philippe Kourilsky, Director General of the Pasteur Institute and host of the meeting.

On June 18th, before the start of the GAVI board meeting, the Pasteur Institute representative of the research institutions to the GAVI board held a meeting with over 20 such institutions around the world to discuss new research agendas.

It was agreed to regularly organize such meetings to accompany GAVI’s efforts, in particular by promoting international vaccine research actions to address neglected diseases, which strike millions of people throughout the world, but do not offer a commercially viable market.

Contacts:

  • Farnaz Khadem, Fonds Mondial pour les Vaccins Phone: +33.6.86.43.08.91.
  • Heidi Larson, UNICEF Phone: +1.646.207.51.79
  • Philippe Maze-Sencier, APCO France Phone: +33.1.44.94.86.66.

 

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