Global Alliance for Vaccines and ImmunizationA partnership for children?s health
Mother and child at the Boane clinic (Photo: Heidi Larson)

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First step forward: immunization at a clinic for mothers and babies in Niger
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For more than a century, scientists and public health leaders have known that preventing infectious diseases is the most efficient form of health intervention. During the twentieth century, medical research led to the development of vaccines that prevent a number of crippling, often fatal, childhood diseases. However, as a new century begins, the world falls short of realizing the full benefit of childhood immunization. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) was formed in 1999 with the mission of ensuring that every child in the world will be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. GAVI exists as a mechanism for coordinating and revitalizing immunization programs at international, regional and national levels.

At present, immunization programs appear to save up to 3 million lives annually worldwide. However, almost 3 million people still die annually from diseases that could be prevented with currently available vaccines.

Children in the poorest countries are the least protected, and the gap between the vaccines readily available to them and those available to children in the industrialized world is growing. GAVI is committed to closing this gap through a global network of international development organizations, multilateral development banks, philanthropic organizations, private sector leaders and other parties focused on re-energizing the world’s commitment to vaccines and immunization.

By significantly expanding the reach and effectiveness of immunization programs country by country, the GAVI partners hope to help decrease the burden of disease globally. GAVI reaffirms that immunization is a cornerstone for health, a key component of the broader framework of economic development and poverty reduction, and an essential step to protecting children’s health and allowing each child to reach his or her greatest physical and intellectual potential.

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GAVI is a worldwide partnership

Since immunization is a global issue, it requires a global solution. GAVI represents an historic alliance of public and private sector partners assembled into a worldwide network. These partners are: the Bill and Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine Program, The World Health Organization (WHO) , The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), The World Bank Group, Foundations, Developing country governments, Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), Government – Industrialized Countries, Research and technical health institutions, Vaccine Industry – Industrialized Country, Research and technical health institutions, Vaccine Industry – Developing Country. GAVI’s Board of Directors consists of top officials from its members and is currently chaired by Ms. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF. Dr. Gro Brundtland, WHO Director General, was the former chair.

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To fulfill its mission of protecting children of all nations and of all socioeconomic levels against vaccine-preventable diseases, GAVI has established six strategic objectives:

  • Improve access to sustainable immunization services

  • Expand the use of all existing, safe and cost-effective vaccines where they address a public health problem

  • Support the national and international accelerated disease control targets for vaccine-preventable diseases

  • Accelerate the development and introduction of new vaccines and technologies

  • Accelerate R&D efforts for vaccines needed primarily in developing countries

  • Make immunization coverage a centerpiece in international development efforts

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GAVI Milestones

  • By 2005, 80% of developing countries will have routine immunization coverage of at least 80% in all districts.

  • By 2002, 80% of all countries with adequate delivery systems will have introduced hepatitis B vaccine. By 2007, all countries.

  • By 2005, 50% of poorest countries with high disease burdens and adequate delivery systems will have introduced Hib vaccine.

  • By 2005, the world will be certified polio-free.

  • By 2005, the vaccine efficacy and burden of disease will be known for all regions for rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccine, and mechanisms identified to make the vaccines available to the poorest countries.

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How GAVI will accomplish its goals

The Alliance will work towards its objectives through the following mechanisms:

  • Improving donor collaboration to ensure effective use of immunization funding and developing sustainable financing instruments for vaccine procurement

  • Working with individual countries to strengthen national immunization services through enhanced coordination among governments and development partners

  • Working with global vaccine industry partners to continue to provide the highest quality vaccines at the lowest appropriate pricing and exploring a competitive negotiation mechanism to help bring new vaccines to the poorest populations at the earliest possible time

  • Seeking to achieve a balance between three vaccine procurement objectives:
    • prices that are affordable to governments;
    • adequate investment in capacity to supply global needs;
    • and private investment in research and development of high-priority vaccines for developing countries.

  • The newly created Vaccine Fund is one of the financial tools available for GAVI to purchase under-utilized and new vaccines and to provide resources to strengthen immunization infrastructure. It will also support research for developing new vaccines – against diseases such as malaria, AIDS or tuberculosis – needed primarily in the developing world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation generously pledged $750 million (US$150 million per year for five years) to establish the Vaccine Fund. Further support has now been voiced by the United States Government. On January 10, 2000, at the opening meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Vice President Al Gore announced plans to ask Congress for a new $50-million investment in the Vaccine Fund. (For archived news reports of this announcement visit

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To find out more about GAVI and how to join this worldwide effort, please contact:

Lisa Jacobs
GAVI Secretariat
Palais des Nations,
1211 Geneva 10

Tel: 41.22.909.50.19

Fax: 41.22.909.59.31


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