MSF, GAVI issue statements on pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV), volume pricing, refugee access

MSF and GAVI issued statements addressing a new immunization initiative involving pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) for children in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan and the larger context of pricing and availability of vaccines to the NGO community linked to GAVI purchasing volumes, current agreements with manufacturers, and resultant pricing for specific vaccines.

The MSF release of 8 August 2013 notes in part:
Global Vaccination Community Neglecting Refugee Children
“As Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) begins vaccinating children against pneumonia in a refugee camp in South Sudan, the international medical humanitarian organization warned today that the global vaccination community is neglecting to provide new vaccines to crisis-affected children.

“While planning to immunize children against pneumococcal diseases in the Yida refugee camp, which is home to close to 100,000 Sudanese refugees, MSF faced multiple barriers to purchasing newer vaccines at an affordable price and struggled to navigate bureaucratic policies that exclude the needs of conflict-affected populations.

“Refugee children are incredibly vulnerable to developing vaccine-preventable diseases, so why do we keep hearing the players in the global vaccination community tell us these kids aren’t their problem,” asked Kate Elder, vaccines policy advisor at MSF’s Access Campaign. “We should be making every effort for refugee children to benefit from the newest vaccines, instead of letting them languish in the global community’s blind spot.

“Newer vaccines have primarily been introduced in poor countries with support from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance). But GAVI does not cover vaccination in refugee and crisis-affected populations, leaving major needs unmet. Moreover, discounted prices that GAVI is able to negotiate are not systematically available to humanitarian actors working in crisis contexts…
Full text: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=6978&cat=press-release%29

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GAVI’s statement in response (undated) notes in part:
“The GAVI Alliance congratulates MSF on beginning to vaccinate children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) in the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. We were pleased to have been able to play a facilitating role in helping MSF procure these vaccines…

“…Our focus is on expanding access to vaccines in a long-term sustainable way and that means working through the governments of the world’s 73 poorest countries to strengthen and expand routine immunisation services for all children.

“South Sudan has yet to apply for GAVI support for PCV but when it does, GAVI will work with the Ministry of Health to help them roll it out sustainably to all children in the country. First, we will support South Sudan to introduce the pentavalent vaccine starting next year (2014)…

“We recognise the importance of vaccines in humanitarian emergencies and where we can add value, we have and will continue to try to help.  For example, soon after we supported the introduction of PCV in Kenya, we supported the Government to provide PCV for Somali children in the Dadaab refugee camp.”
Full text: http://www.gavialliance.org/library/news/statements/2013/gavi-responds-to-medecins-sans-frontieres/