UNICEF clinches vaccine deal to protect children from 5 diseases

UNICEF clinches vaccine deal to protect children from 5 diseases

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 11:21 pm

A child receives oral  vaccine

A child receives oral vaccine

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Wednesday said it had reached an agreement with six suppliers to provide a combined vaccine against five deadly childhood diseases for half the price it currently pays.

Shanelle Hall, Director of UNICEF’s Supply and Procurement Division, said in Geneva that an estimated 5.7 million deaths a year could be averted under the deal to send 450 million doses to 80 countries between 2017 and 2020.

“We will be able to procure pentavalent vaccine to protect children for less than one dollar.’’

Hall said the vaccine, a cornerstone of routine immunisation programmes, would protect children from five major infections in one shot.

The diseases are diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis b, and haemophilus influenza type b known as Hib, a type of bacteria that causes meningitis, pneumonia and otitis.

“The six suppliers were named as Biology E. Jenssen, LG Life Sciences, Panacea Biotec Ltd, Serum Institute of India, and Shantha Biotechs.

“The deal, which took 16 years to reach, will bring down the average price to 85 cents a dose, half the amount that UNICEF currently pays, generating savings for donors and governments’’, she said.

GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, said in a statement that it took time to expand a base of vaccine suppliers which would reduce the risk of shortages.

GAVI and the Gates Foundation joined UNICEF in securing the multi-year suppliers’ contract. (Reuters/NAN)

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