GAVI calls for $7.5B to protect 300 million children by 2020

The GAVI Alliance has already saved about 6 million lives through its funding of low-cost immunization for developing countries. And now, it's looking to save 6 million more through 2020.

GAVI Chair Dagfinn Høybråten

To do so, the organization Tuesday called on donors to back its plans to help immunize 300 million children between 2016 and 2020--plans that will require $7.5 billion in addition to the $2 billion it already has on hand for that period.

"We are faced with an historic opportunity to support countries to build sustainable immunization programs that will protect entire generations of children," GAVI Chair Dagfinn Høybråten said in a statement. "The investments we all make now can ensure the equivalent of two children every second will be reached with GAVI-supported vaccines for five years and secure the future health and economic prosperity of all our children in years to come."

GAVI, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, world governments and others, uses its funding to negotiate with drugmakers like GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY) and Merck ($MRK) to cut vaccine prices for the world's poorest countries. The alliance's efforts have led to a 37% decrease in cost for a GAVI-eligible country to vaccinate a child against preventable conditions like HPV and rotavirus since 2010.

The European Commission, co-host of a GAVI replenishment event this week in Brussels, has already kicked off the contributions, pledging to increase the EU's chip-in to the alliance €175 million, up from €39 million in the previous period.

EU President José Manuel Barroso

"It is horrible and unacceptable that around 1.5 million children still die each year from diseases which could be prevented by a simple vaccine," EU President José Manuel Barroso told the conference. "…We are committed, in the long term, to doing all we can to make sure that more men, women and children have access to life saving vaccines, no matter where they live."

- read the GAVI release
- read the EU release