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Vaccinate every child, says UNICEF, as donors map out new immunization programmes

© UNICEF/Ukraine/2010/G.Pirozzi

NEW YORK / LONDON / GENEVA / COPENHAGEN / KYIV, 6 June 2011- As world leaders prepare to converge on London for the GAVI Alliance pledging conference next week, UNICEF is calling on donors to fund a global immunization effort to save millions of children’s lives by 2015.

The children’s agency emphasized that the best use of funding for vaccines is to implement programmes that prioritize the hardest to reach children who currently miss out on these simple life-saving vaccines.  Currently one in five children is not vaccinated.

"We have the vaccines and the technical expertise to save millions of children's lives," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, who will be in London for the conference.  "Now we must match our knowledge with our commitment to help the poorest, most vulnerable children.  No immunization campaign can succeed fully without reaching the hardest to reach."

UNICEF is in the unique position of being involved at every stage of the immunization process, supplying vaccines to 56 per cent of the world’s children and working on the ground in over 150 countries. It is a founding partner in the GAVI Alliance, which is holding a conference in London on June 13th where it is hoped donor countries will make firm commitments to fund vaccines through 2015.

The opportunity: Saving four million children's lives by 2015
Beyond expanding coverage to reach the unreached, focus must also be on introducing powerful new vaccines to countries that do not have access to them. Pneumonia and diarrhoea cause one-third of all childhood deaths, and new vaccines against some causes of these deadly diseases now exist. 

The GAVI Alliance, UNICEF and partners aim to save an additional four million children’s lives by 2015 by rolling out these new vaccines and others. Despite significant progress in reducing childhood mortality, nearly two million children still die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases.

UNICEF’s role
In 2010, UNICEF procured, on behalf of GAVI and governments of developing countries, around 2.53 billion doses.

Beyond procurement, UNICEF works with governments to help deliver vaccines to communities via a “cold chain”, train vaccinators, and ensure that care-givers understand the importance of immunization and how to access it.

About vaccine pricing
In an effort to improve transparency around vaccine supply, UNICEF recently made public the prices it pays for individual vaccines. As the largest buyer of children’s vaccines, this move is in line with UNICEF’s commitment to ensure that vaccine supply is sustainable and affordable. For more information, see: http://www.unicef.org/media/media_58692.html

For latest on vaccine pricing, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/supply/index_57476.html

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About UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 150 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997. More information about UNICEF activities in Ukraine at www.unicef.org.ua.

For more information, please contact:

Yulia Yurova, Unicef Ukraine, +38 044 2542450, yyurova@unicef.org
Christian Moen, UNICEF New York, + 1 212 326 7516, cmoen@unicef.org
Kathryn Donovan, UNICEF New York, +1 212 326 7452, kdonovan@unicef.org

 

 
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