Saving lives with a simple vaccination

Media release


12 June 2011

The Australia Government will ensure over seven million children will receive life saving vaccines through its new pledge to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

GAVI is an innovative public-private international fund that increases access to vaccines and immunisation in the world's poorest countries, including 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia would invest an additional $140 million from 2011 to 2013 to support GAVI in its efforts to combat two of the biggest childhood killers in the developing world — pneumonia from pneumococcal disease and diarrhoea triggered by rotavirus.

Speaking at the opening of the GAVI 'Saving Children's Lives' conference in London, Mr Rudd said routine immunisation for preventable diseases is one of the most proven and cost-effective ways to save lives.

'Each year, rotavirus-related diarrheal disease alone takes the lives of more than half a million children under five years of age and is responsible for the hospitalisation of millions more.

'GAVI has achieved outstanding results in the past decade, immunising more than 288 million children in the developing world to help them survive into adulthood.

'Our increased support, along with other donors' pledges, is estimated to help GAVI save a further four million lives by 2015,' said Mr Rudd.

GAVI supports countries to improve their procurement of vaccines and their capacity to deliver routine immunisation programs. They also work with vaccine manufacturers and suppliers to help bring down the price of childhood vaccines for developing countries.

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