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Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance


Immunisation is one of the most cost-effective healthcare measures. Children who have been vaccinated are more likely to succeed at school and thus have a better chance of developing into healthy, strong adults. This means that immunisation does not only benefit individuals but society as a whole.

Yet, despite this fact, at the start of our millennium, some 30 million girls and boys had not been fully immunised. While children in industrialised countries at that time had received an average of eleven to twelve vaccinations, children of the same age in developing countries had only received an average of five to six vaccinations. Newly developed and more expensive vaccines – such as the one against hepatitis B – were practically unavailable for the world's poorest children.

In view of this and in view of stagnating vaccination rates in the 1990s, a search began for new avenues to protect human health, especially in poorer countries. In 2000, a new organisation was formed, then called the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi).


Public-private partnership

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public-private partnership whose task it is to help save the lives of children in developing countries and emerging economies by providing easy access to immunisations and by improving health systems. The Vaccine Alliance aims to achieve this by supporting national immunisation programmes, introducing new vaccines and facilitating additional financing options.

Being one of the world's largest buyers of vaccines worldwide, the Vaccine Alliance is in a position to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies, thus helping to constantly lower the cost of vaccines. This is intended to enable countries receiving support from Gavi to maintain high immunisation rates even without international assistance and to ensure equal access to life-saving vaccines.

All key decision-makers in the field of vaccines work together as partners within the Alliance. These key decision-makers include the governments of industrialised and developing countries, WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, manufacturers of vaccines from industrialised countries and emerging economies, as well as public health bodies and non-governmental organisations.

The Alliance is based in Geneva and, since early 2009, has been registered there as a foundation in accordance with Swiss law.


Strategy up to 2020

Gavi's strategy for the period from 2016 to 2020 has four objectives:

  1. Accelerate equitable uptake and coverage of vaccines
  2. Increase effectiveness and efficiency of immunisation delivery as an integrated part of strengthened health systems
  3. Improve sustainability of national immunisation programmes
  4. Shape markets for vaccines and other immunisation products

To date, nearly 760 million children have been immunised with support from Gavi. The aim of the current strategy is to immunise a further 300 million children in developing countries with the most important vaccines between 2016 and 2020. It is estimated that, in the long term, this will save five to six million lives.


Avoiding life-threatening diseases

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, supports the use of 17 different vaccines – for example against hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae B (which can cause meningitis and pneumonia), tetanus, whooping cough, measles, polio and diphtheria.

In addition, Gavi provides support for vaccination campaigns against pneumococcal infections and rotaviruses. Pneumococci are the main cause of pneumonia, and rotaviruses cause severe diarrhoeal diseases. Pneumonia and diarrhoeal diseases are the main causes of child mortality in developing countries.

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, Gavi is also providing its partner countries with up to 200 million US dollars to support their response to the pandemic. This will enable them, for instance, to provide protective gear to health personnel, carry out training programmes and finance diagnostic testing.


Achievements

The interventions launched by Gavi in collaboration with its partners are playing their part in helping to realise Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: good health and well-being for all. According to figures published by the Alliance, the immunisation programmes and vaccination campaigns supported so far have helped to prevent more than thirteen million future deaths in developing countries.

There has been a significant increase in immunisation coverage in poor countries, and the number of children who have not been fully immunised has fallen to 19.4 million. In many developing countries, vaccines are now available at a fraction of the cost incurred in industrialised countries. Nowadays newly developed vaccines are available almost simultaneously in industrialised and developing countries. Sixteen Gavi-supported countries are now in a position to finance their immunisation programmes entirely on their own.


German activities

The BMZ has been supporting Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, since 2006. When Germany hosted the replenishment conference held in January 2015, it significantly increased its contribution to Gavi. Between 2016 and 2020, Germany is making available a total of 600 million euros for the Alliance's work. This makes Germany the fourth-largest official donor to the Vaccine Alliance. The next replenishment conference for Gavi, which will cover the period of 2021 to 2025, is taking place in June 2020, hosted by the United Kingdom. 

In January 2020, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chancellor Merkel announced that the German government would continue its support for Gavi over the coming years with a contribution of 600 million euros. Together with France, the European Commission, Ireland and Luxembourg, Germany makes up one of the donor countries' constituencies in the Alliance. In 2018, Germany provided the alternate Board member and, in 2019, the representative Board member for its constituency. In 2021, Germany will again provide the representative Board member for its constituency.


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Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
2 Chemin des Mines
1202 Geneva
Switzerland
Phone: +41 / 22 / 9 09 65 00
Fax: +41 / 22 / 9 09 65 50

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