Rotavirus vaccines made available for use in humanitarian crises

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Rotavirus vaccines made available for use in humanitarian crises
Health partners welcome landmark pricing agreement through Humanitarian Mechanism, urging more manufacturers to follow suit
4 March 2021 News release Geneva/London/New York
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) welcome the opportunity to make rotavirus vaccine available to more children living in humanitarian crises thanks to a landmark pricing agreement with the manufacturer, GSK.

Children living in refugee camps, displaced communities or in other emergency situations now have a better chance of being protected against severe diarrhoeal disease with these lower price rotavirus vaccines. Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of death among children under five.

The agreement makes use of the multi-partner Humanitarian Mechanism, launched in 2017. Rotavirus vaccine is the second vaccine  to be accessed through the scheme, which depends on manufacturers making their vaccines available at their lowest price for use in emergencies – across countries of all income levels. The first to be made available was the pneumococcal vaccine.

“We welcome this engagement from manufacturers and hope it will be a step towards making more vaccines available in the future at affordable prices,” said Dr Kate O’Brien, Director of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO. “It is unacceptable that some of the most at-risk children are not vaccinated against devastating diseases like rotavirus because of lack of availability or high costs.”…
The Humanitarian Mechanism facilitates access to vaccines for humanitarian organizations working in countries affected by emergencies, where access and prices have otherwise been a bottleneck…

Since 2017, nearly one million doses of pneumococcal vaccine have been approved for use by civil society organizations through the Mechanism in 12 countries: Algeria, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Greece, Kenya, Lebanon, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria. The pneumococcal vaccine protects against childhood pneumonia, also a leading cause of childhood deaths during emergencies.

 

Once secured through the Mechanism, the vaccines are offered to humanitarian organizations working in camps and other emergency settings, who can make applications to access the vaccine at these lower prices.

“The Humanitarian Mechanism has already expanded the number of children who can receive lifesaving vaccines, but to reach its full potential and save more lives, MSF calls on manufacturers to commit additional vaccines and to allow governments hosting children in humanitarian emergencies to access the vaccines too,” said Miriam Alia, Vaccination and Outbreak Response Referent at MSF. “Children everywhere, no matter where they live, should have access to lifesaving vaccinations.”…