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Press release

Vaccine suppliers integral to achieving polio free world

COPENHAGEN, 24 October 2012 - On World Polio Day, UNICEF has commended the continued contribution of industry to global polio eradication efforts, particularly in helping meet a 410 million dose gap in 2012 and preventing a 300 million dose gap in 2013.

“This year has proven challenging in terms of oral polio vaccine (OPV) supply due to shortfalls from a few suppliers,” Shanelle Hall, Director UNICEF Supply, said.

Offers received from manufacturers in response to the UNICEF-issued OPV tender for the period covering 2013-2017 identified a gap of approximately 300 million doses for the first half of 2013, which would have seriously affected planned polio campaigns.

“The 2013 supply shortfall has been actively addressed through collaborative efforts by industry to increase or fast-track availability, and coordination with global partners to accelerate WHO prequalification of new products and adjust activity schedules. Sufficient OPV will now be available to meet programmatic requirements for the period,” Ms. Hall added.

UNICEF has also welcomed manufacturer’s contribution to affordable vaccine pricing. Through efforts by multiple manufacturers, cost savings equivalent to nearly 100 million doses are expected over the next five years.

“In times of increasing financial constraint and uncertainty, these savings will have significant impact as we make the final push towards eradicating this disease from the world. Vaccine suppliers, including BioFarma, GlaxoSmithKline, Haffkine, Novartis, Sanofi Pasteur, and the Serum Institute of India, are key partners to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI),” said Ms. Hall.

The OPV market is complex and changing, and requires close management and coordination with countries and global programme partners, as well as with industry in order to achieve a polio-free world.

“As global efforts edge closer to realizing this goal, UNICEF remains committed to working with industry to secure OPV at affordable prices, and to ensure potential supply-related challenges are minimised,” she said.

Polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – and has re-established transmission in three countries which were previously polio-free (Angola, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

In addition to procuring OPV for eradication efforts, UNICEF works closely with partners and governments in supporting social mobilization around polio campaigns, supporting strengthening of supply chains and promoting routine immunization.

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UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:
Maria Ieroianni, Communications Officer, UNICEF Supply Division,
Tel + 45 3527 3213,




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