GAVI to aid $500 million vaccine plan in India

GAVI to aid $500 million vaccine plan in India

Alliance will help introduce new vaccines for children

GAVI to aid $500 million vaccine plan in India

GAVI, an international vaccine promotion alliance, will provide $500 million to India between 2016 and 2022 for bringing in new vaccines in India’s immunisation programme.

This will be the last tranche of funding support from the vaccine alliance that is supporting India’s vaccine programme over the last 15 years.

GAVI will provide up to $500 million between 2016 and 2021 to support India’s immunisation programme, after which India will move out of the alliance’s support.

 GAVI chief Seth Berkley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister J P Nadda here on Wednesday.

The support from the vaccine alliance will help introduce new vaccines for protecting children against some of the leading causes of disease including pneumonia and severe diarrhoea, which together claimed lives of more than 200,000 Indian children under five years every year.

The new GAVI fund will be used to introduce new vaccines against rota virus, rubella and pneumococcal. “Out of the $500 million, close to $ 400 million will go to vaccine procurement as per the approval from the GAVI board,” a Health Ministry official told Deccan Herald.

On previous GAVI-supported schemes, the Health Ministry began the process of supporting the programme from its own budget. The pentavalent vaccine that protects infants from five infections — diptheria tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis-B virus and Haemophilus-influenzae B — will now be completely funded from the domestic budget as the programme has been extended to the entire country.

Similarly, in its first year, the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) that will be given as injections will be supported by GAVI. “IPV too will come under the domestic budget from 2017 when the transition from GAVI starts,” said another ministry official. The GAVI funds are also likely to be used to launch a vaccine against human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer among women — one of the common cause of cancer. The Health Ministry, however, is yet to decide on the HPV introduction schedule.

As currently 60 per cent of all GAVI-procured vaccines are manufactured in India, the alliance will also work with the government and vaccine makers to expand the supply base to ensure sufficient stock not only for the 27 million Indian kids born every year but also for children living in 72 other GAVI-supported countries.