RotaFlash archives 2012
Following Ghana’s model of dual introduction of rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines, today Tanzania simultaneous launched vaccines against the primary causes of two of the leading childhood killers in Tanzania and worldwide – pneumonia and diarrhea. Tanzania is the 12th GAVI-eligible country and 42nd country worldwide to introduce rotavirus vaccines into its national immunization program following Armenia last month.
On October 29, 2012, Malawi became the fourth GAVI-eligible country in Africa—the tenth GAVI-eligible country worldwide—to provide lifesaving rotavirus vaccines as part of its routine childhood immunization program. The historic rollout of rotavirus vaccines across Africa continues, with Malawi following Botswana, Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa, and Sudan just three short years after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that all countries introduce rotavirus vaccines into their national immunization programs.
A study released today in PLOS Medicine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) analyzed the benefits and risks of relaxing the vaccine dosing age restrictions for rotavirus vaccines and concluded that the lives of nearly 50,000 additional children in low- and middle-income countries can be saved.
Following a successful introduction of pneumococcal vaccines with GAVI support in January 2011, Yemen has now rolled out rotavirus vaccine into its national immunization program. Rotavirus accounts for 11% of Yemeni under-five deaths, and 40% of hospitalized Yemeni children have rotavirus.
Rwanda introduced pneumococcal vaccines into its routine immunization program in April 2009, and as of today is the third African country to utilize GAVI support for rotavirus vaccine introduction after Sudan (July 2011) and Ghana (April 2102). Rotavirus is responsible for ~3,500 deaths (8.8% of the total) in children under five years of age every year in Rwanda.
Ghana is the first African country to simultaneously introduce vaccines against leading childhood killers—diarrhea and pneumonia—which together account for ~20% of under five mortality worldwide. Preparation included cold chain expansion, healthcare worker training, public awareness campaigns, and reissuance of millions of upgraded child health immunization cards.
According to the April 2012 Vaccine special supplement, “Rotavirus Vaccines for Children in Developing Countries,” rotavirus vaccines offer the best hope for preventing severe rotavirus disease and the deadly dehydrating diarrhea it causes. More than 2.4 million child deaths can be prevented by accelerating access in GAVI-eligible countries.
Delivering on the promise, GAVI has announced that GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co. Inc. will supply a respective 95% and 5% of the total procured volume of rotavirus vaccines at substantially reduced prices; this translates to a 67% reduction of the lowest price offered to public institutions to date.
Two new US studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association and Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine find no increased risk of intussusception following administration of rotavirus vaccines, and that the vaccines have made a tremendous public health impact.
An innovative, multi-sectoral partnership between the Zambian Ministry of Health, the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, and Absolute Return for Kids has launched the Program for Awareness and Elimination of Diarrhea. This program strengthens Zambia’s capacity for comprehensive diarrheal disease prevention and treatment strategies, and will reduce child deaths from diarrhea.
Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona announced that the Philippines will be the first Southeast Asian country to introduce rotavirus vaccines in its national immunization program. The initial focus will be on the poorest communities, which have the highest child morbidity and mortality rates from diarrheal diseases.