Bringing vaccines to those who need them most
Vaccine Access and Delivery Program works to ensure children get the vaccines they need
Each year, more than 100 million children receive vaccinations that protect them from diseases like polio, measles, and hepatitis B. Still, 24 million children annually go without these basic vaccinations, and children in poorer countries often lack access to newer and more expensive vaccines. In fact, it can take 15 to 20 years for a vaccine introduced in wealthy countries to become available in the developing world. PATH is working to close these gaps in access to lifesaving vaccines.
We use three strategies to make vaccines more available:
- Generating, collecting, and disseminating information that country leaders and global policymakers need to make informed decisions on the introduction and use of vaccines.
- Building awareness about disease burden and the benefits of vaccination to mobilize resources for addressing vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Developing innovative immunization solutions that help countries reduce deaths and illness associated with diseases such as diarrheal disease and pneumonia.
Accelerating vaccine introduction
PATH is a lead partner in the Accelerated Vaccine Introduction (AVI) initiative. Launched by the GAVI Alliance, AVI unites scientific, public health, policy, and management expertise to help national governments address all aspects of successful immunization, including vaccine procurement, policies, financing, training, logistics, and delivery. The partnership has two core goals:
- Broaden and speed up access to rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines that help protect against the leading causes of diarrheal disease and pneumonia.
- Create a platform for introducing other new vaccines and sustaining the use of currently used vaccines.
PATH, together with partners, is conducting research to better understand how to use these vaccines in real world settings. In addition, we generate strategic forecasts of vaccine supply and demand for pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines as well as many other lifesaving vaccines. Our outreach efforts inform and engage global donors and create political will in countries. As a result, sustainable plans for vaccine introduction are being crafted, international funders have stepped forward, and children around the world are beginning to receive both vaccines.
Our work to accelerate vaccine introduction is built in part on our successful efforts to bring attention and resources to two diseases that particularly affect vulnerable children in Africa and Asia—rotavirus and Japanese encephalitis (JE).
To protect all children from rotavirus
Each year almost 500,000 children die from diarrheal disease caused by rotavirus and another two million are hospitalized. Most deaths occur in developing countries where access to treatment is limited. Rotavirus vaccines offer hope.
To make sure the vaccines are available to children worldwide as quickly as possible, with generous funding from the GAVI Alliance, we partnered with the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prepare for and speed up their introduction. We laid the groundwork for Nicaragua to introduce a rotavirus vaccine in 2006, marking the first time in history that a vaccine was introduced in a developing country in the same year that it was approved in the industrialized world. We also spearheaded pivotal clinical trials to demonstrate the efficacy of the vaccines in Africa and Asia, expediting rotavirus vaccine introduction on those continents.
Advancing a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis
JE is a mosquito-borne viral brain infection that each year strikes an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people in Asia and the Western Pacific, primarily children. One-third of JE infections are fatal, and another third leaves survivors with severe neurological problems. PATH identified a promising vaccine candidate, collaborated with the manufacturer to conduct clinical trials, and helped to accelerate its development and licensure. Landmark negotiations between PATH and the manufacturer established a maximum price for low-income countries. With PATH’s support, millions of children in Cambodia, India, Nepal, North Korea, and Sri Lanka have been vaccinated.
Banner photo: PATH/Robin Biellik.