Friday, December 9, 2011

Access to the Power of Vaccines from Huffington Post

Several major announcements have been made in recent weeks about the expansion of vaccine access to the world's poor. This progress and the "Power of Vaccines" are the subject of a high level discussion today in Washington convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), featuring USAID Administrator Raj Shah and speakers from NIH, CDC, the GAVI Alliance and Johns Hopkins University.

From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet.

To appreciate how far we've come you need to remember where we started. Consider the situation with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in 2003. At that time, developing country access to these vaccines seemed almost unthinkable. The vaccine had only been routinely used in the U.S. for three years, and the manufacturer was struggling to supply American children who paid top dollar prices. Access to affordable supplies of this vaccine was out of the question. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) had not yet recommended the vaccine for use and most developing countries had little appreciation for the burden of pneumococcal disease in their countries. Finally, our track record in vaccine access was generally lame, with 15 years or more passing before poor countries accessed the same vaccines as richer ones.

For the full article please go here.

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