Dr Seth Berkeley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is currently in India and has inked an agreement for $500 million to support India’s immunisation drive.
Berkeley shares his views on the government’s engagement on vaccination and the way forward for India which supplies 60 per cent of the world’s vaccines and yet has the largest number of unimmunised children.
What are the components of this support package to India?
The board has approved an envelope of up to $500 million. Normally it is 75:25, 75 per cent is vaccine support and up to 25 per cent is for strengthening the health system. India has not had new vaccines for a very long time, the first one was Hepatitis B and that took 10 years for full roll-out. Pentavalent was the next one, that took almost four years. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has also arrived.
It’s an exciting time to be here. We are hoping in the first quarter, rotavirus vaccine will be launched. Diarrhoea is the biggest killer of children in India followed by pneumonia. Pneumococcal vaccine and rotavirus roll out is also being discussed.
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