Rwanda: first developing nation to introduce Prevenar, Wyeth pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Rwanda became the first developing nation to introduce Prevenar, Wyeth’s pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. The first doses were administered in a rural clinic east of Kigali to Rwandan children as “the first step in the rollout of the national pneumococcal immunisation programme, which aims to vaccinate nearly all Rwandan children younger than one by the end of 2009, and all Rwandan infants on a routine basis, thereafter.” Rwanda’s Health Minister Dr. Sezibera commented, “This is a proud day for Rwanda and an important milestone for the developing world. We are committed to saving the lives and improving the health of our most precious national resource – our children. With the introduction of this vaccine, our goal of significantly reducing child death in Rwanda will now be within reach.” Dr. Julian Lob-Levyt, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said, “We applaud the Rwandan government for taking this step, and we are proud to join them in launching a new era in the delivery of vaccines designed to close the gap between rich and poor countries and improve child mortality throughout the developing world. If fully rolled out in GAVI countries, the pneumococcal vaccine could save the lives of more than 440,000 children by 2015. This would help achieve Millennium Development Goal 4. Today’s event would not be possible without the commitment of public and private partners who are making vaccines available to the poorest countries.”

(Business Wire, 22 April 2009)

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