India’s immunisation programme will receive a boost with Gavi the Vaccine Alliance pledging to spend up to $ 500 million between 2016 and 2021.
An announcement was made last week by the Government of India and Gavi, after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi.
In addition to introducing new vaccines into the schedule, the idea is also to reach increase access to vaccines for millions of children in India.Under this new partnership strategy, Gavi will allocate the $ 500 million in two tranches — $ 100 million, to support the country’s current immunisation programme and enhance reach, and $ 400 million, for country-wide introduction of new vaccines for diarrhoea and pneumonia, cervical cancer, and Rubella with measles.
India is due to begin transitioning away from Gavi support from 2017 and is expected to begin fully self-financing all its vaccine programmes by 2021.Currently 60% of all Gavi-procured vaccines are manufactured in India. Through the partnership, Gavi and the Government of India will work more closely together to help create a more sustainable global and domestic vaccine manufacturing base within India.
This is a great step by Gavi but more needs to be done by the Indian Government, civil society and organisations as India has been slow to introduce new vaccines that are used widely in far-poorer countries (often with Gavi funding, of course). Some crucial vaccines are made in India but kept from most Indian children. Indian NGOs, media, concerned citizens and many professional societies need to do more to stop preventable deaths among India’s children.