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Guardian Examines Launch Of GAVI-Sponsored Immunization Campaign In Ghana

Ghana’s recent “rollout of the rotavirus vaccine and, to much acclaim, a new vaccine against pneumococcal infections, [makes it] the first country in sub-Saharan African to introduce two new vaccines at the same time,” the Guardian reports. The immunization campaign, organized by the Ghanaian government and the GAVI Alliance in partnership with other international agencies, philanthropies and the private sector, is “expected to save thousands of lives,” the newspaper notes. “That GAVI has deemed Ghana able to introduce rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines together is a vote of confidence in the country’s ability to establish a ‘cold chain,’” a refrigeration network necessary to keep the vaccines viable, according to the Guardian.

The article also discusses how GAVI used an advanced market commitment (AMC) from GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to encourage investment in creating a pneumococcal vaccine specifically for the developing world. This system of constructing an artificial market “has led to accusations that GAVI is encouraging business to profit from the poorest,” the Guardian writes. But GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said, “[T]here are children today who are alive because that vaccine was developed. Do you wait for other companies to come, and would the other companies have been interested if it wasn’t for those big guys? I would love to use the AMC again” (Hirsch, 5/3). The ONE blog features a video of the launch of the campaign (Chapman, 5/3).