Geneva, January 21, 2020—On the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos and as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, commemorates its twentieth year and launches a new fundraising appeal, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on the global vaccine community to ensure that the 55 million children who lack access to the pneumonia vaccine are protected against this deadly disease, especially now that a new, more affordable vaccine is finally available.
In December 2019, the first alternative pneumonia vaccine product was quality-assured by the World Health Organization (WHO), finally providing a more affordable alternative to Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) versions, which until now have been the only two pneumonia vaccines available worldwide. The newer vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India, is expected to be priced 30 percent lower than Pfizer and GSK’s lowest global prices, with a substantially less expensive version expected for middle-income countries. These countries make up the vast majority of the 50 countries that have not started to use the vaccine, primarily because of its high price.
“We have been working for the past decade to get affordable access to the pneumonia vaccine for our patients and are very encouraged that there is finally another more affordable version,” said Kate Elder, senior vaccines policy advisor at MSF’s Access Campaign. “The entire vaccination community needs to be moving mountains to make sure every country can start protecting all of its children against pneumonia, now that there’s finally a vaccine that won’t bankrupt countries’ health budgets. Now there’s no excuse—Gavi, the WHO, UNICEF, and the Gates Foundation all have a major role to play in making sure every last child is protected against this killer disease.”