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GAVI Alliance Reaches Agreement With Drugmakers On Reduced-Price Pneumococcal Vaccines

Several drugmakers have reached an agreement “to supply up to 200 million doses a year of cut-price pneumococcal vaccines to developing nations,” according to GAVI Alliance, Reuters reports. A formal announcement of the deal is expected “in the next couple of weeks,” GAVI’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Helen Evans told the news service Thursday.

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

Also In Global Health News: U.S. Ambassador To U.N.; Male Circumcision; River Blindness In Ecuador; Nursing Shortage In Caribbean; Maternal Health In Bolivia; Drug-Resistant TB In North Korea; Cholera Vaccine

U.S. Ambassador To U.N. In Geneva Assumes Position, Ending 13 Month Vacancy Betty King reported to her new position as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. “Washington’s Geneva mission had been without an ambassador since Warren W. Tichenor left his post on Jan.…

WHO H1N1 Vaccine Shipments Headed To More Developing Countries

The WHO on Friday announced “it had delivered the first doses of H1N1 [swine flu] vaccine to Cuba, and a dozen countries in Africa would receive millions of doses in coming weeks,” Reuters reports. According to WHO spokeswoman Karen Mah, Cuba received an estimated 1.1 million doses Wednesday, and Honduras and El Salvador shipments are “en route,” according to the news service.

Also In Global Health News: Vaccine Suspension; E. Africa Food Security; GMOs; Somali President Responds; China’s Food Security

WHO Suspends Distribution, Purchase Of Pentavalent Vaccine A WHO spokeswoman announced Wednesday that the agency “has suspended the distribution and purchase of the Shan5 vaccine, produced by Sanofi-Aventis’s Indian unit Shantha Biotechnics, pending a quality investigation,” after several reports of white sediment on the walls of the vaccine vials, the…

Nature News Examines GAVI Alliance’s Budget Gap

Nature News examines GAVI Alliance’s multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall ahead of a donors meeting in The Hague March 25-26. The meeting, which marks “the first time that the global-health partnership, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has brought together all of its major donors — countries and philanthropic organizations — at a single fund-raising event,” also demonstrates “the current woes at the organization, which since its creation in 2000 has taken vaccination rates in low-income countries to record highs,” the news service writes.

Tetanus, Hepatitis Vaccination Campaign Launched In Chile Amid Fears Of Disease Outbreaks

“Chile launched a hepatitis and tetanus vaccination campaign Friday and doctors warned of outbreaks of diarrhea and infection among thousands of people displaced by the earthquake and the tsunami that heavily damaged or destroyed 36 hospitals and made garbage dumps of coastal towns and cities,” the Associated Press reports. So far, no dysentery outbreaks or other communicable diseases had been reported, Chile’s health ministry said, adding that it believed it had adequate amounts of tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations.

GAVI Calls Meeting With Existing, Potential Donors

The GAVI Alliance has “asked existing and potential donors to a meeting in The Hague on March 25 and 26 to challenge them to ‘make a strong impact’ on childhood death rates,” Reuters reports. “GAVI, which is supported by the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and vaccine makers, says it has 40 percent of the $7 billion it needs between now and 2015 to help” immunize of millions of children in developing countries by 2015, according to the news service.

With full funding GAVI “will be able to fully roll out pentavalent vaccine” – which protects against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and Hib – “and introduce new vaccines against pneumococcal disease and rotavirus diarrhea in over 40 countries,’ [GAVI] said in a statement. ‘These last two vaccines alone can save one million children by 2015,'” reports Reuters.

“Britain last week pledged 150 million pounds over the next 10 years for GAVI’s core funding, a move the group’s deputy chief executive Helen Evans said she hoped others would follow,” Reuters writes. “This is the first sovereign donor to have made a 10-year commitment to GAVI, and that really helps because it builds predictability into funding … and actually helps to shape the market for vaccines,” Evans said (Kelland, 3/15).

Lancet World Report Examines GAVI’s Funding Gap

Lancet World Report examines the challenges ahead for the GAVI Alliance, which after a decade of “steadily increasing financing” is now “facing a funding shortfall for the next decade that could hamper the roll-out of new vaccines.” GAVI leaders attribute the funding challenges to the global economic crisis, which has kept government aid budgets from increasing, according to the Lancet.

Polio Vaccination Campaign To Target 85M Children In 19 West, Central African Countries

Global health organizations will launch a $30 million polio vaccination campaign on Saturday in West and Central Africa aimed at immunizing 85 million children under age 5, the Joint Global Polio Eradication Initiative and the International Federation of the Red Cross said on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (3/4).