Most low-income countries have national immunization programs that routinely vaccinate 70 to 90 percent of their infants. The eight vaccines included in most programs, together, usually cost less than $20 per infant. However, the inclusion of the newly developed rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines could nearly double this cost. Moreover, the new vaccines create additional logistical and management challenges in already overburdened health systems. These challenges can cause delays of months or even years in the introduction of vaccines. In the meantime, thousands of children will continue to die from preventable diseases.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is partnering with the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi to support the national rollout of the new pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines and to capture lessons that will help other countries successfully introduce these vaccines.
When pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccine programs reach national scale in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Malawi, nearly 50,000 child deaths will be prevented each year. To help achieve that goal, CHAI is supporting the introduction and nationwide implementation of the pneumococcal vaccine for all infants in these countries by 2012. CHAI also intends to assist all three countries in introducing the rotavirus vaccine by 2013. Additionally, they will work with the several new emerging market suppliers expected in the next five to ten years, to help increase access to the new vaccines that are being developed.