Biggest Vaccine Charity Seeks $7.5 Billion for 5-Year Push

The world’s biggest funder of vaccines for developing countries wants to raise $7.5 billion for inoculations to save as many as 6 million lives over five years.

The GAVI Alliance has raised more than $12 billion since its founding in 2000 from governments, charities and companies to help immunize 440 million children in more than 70 poor countries. It’s now seeking to fund vaccines for a further 300 million children, an achievement that could add as much as $100 billion to the economies of developing nations through increased productivity and reduced health-care spending, the Geneva-based organization said in a statement today.

GAVI, which pays for vaccines from 14 companies including GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Merck & Co. and Pfizer Inc., has achieved a 37 percent reduction in the price of immunizations since 2010. The group will seek further price cuts as volumes increase, said Seth Berkley, GAVI’s chief executive officer. The organization is concerned about the affordability of vaccines in 22 countries whose growing economies will make them ineligible for GAVI support by 2020, he said.

“Nobody wins if countries can’t afford the vaccines,” Berkley said in a telephone interview. “The more we get countries to use these vaccines, they’ll become wealthier, the more they’ll be able to pay.”

Price Freeze

Glaxo will freeze the prices of its vaccines for five years for countries that “graduate” from GAVI support, the London-based company said in a statement today.

GAVI also said it expects the countries it supports to increase their contribution to paying for the vaccines to $1.2 billion from 2016 to 2020, from about $470 million in the previous five-year period.

The organization funds the United Nations Children’s Fund, which buys and supplies vaccines against diseases including measles, rotavirus and pneumococcal disease, the world’s biggest killer of children under 5 years.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is GAVI’s biggest private-sector funder and has contributed or pledged more than $2.5 billion since 2000. The U.K. government is the largest single donor.

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