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Vaccines save lives - every child, everywhere

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Development Debates, Health

Today we get to celebrate a significant milestone for global health equity.

The GAVI Alliance, an organisation that helps make sure children in poor countries get the same vaccines that children in rich countries do, just met its fundraising target for the next four years. They did it despite the fact that donors everywhere are coping with budget crises.

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L-R: Norwegian Prime Minster Jens Stoltenberg, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Bill Gates and the UK's Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell at the vaccines sumit. Picture: Mark Makela

This news comes on the heels of an announcement by several multinational and developing country vaccine manufacturers that they will be lowering the prices of some key vaccines. Together, these developments mean that we can save more than four million additional lives by 2015.

Vaccines are one of the best long-term investments to prevent disease and give children a healthy start in life. But for a long time, the healthiest children in the least danger were getting vaccines, and the children who needed vaccines the most weren’t getting them.

In many cases, it took decades before vaccines made for developed-country markets were available in poor countries. Take the example of rotavirus, the leading causes of diarrheal disease. Only children in poor countries die from rotavirus, yet the vaccines for the disease was made available first in rich countries!

Buying vaccines saves lives and that's an investment worth making. Picture: Pete Lewis / DFID

That’s why increasing access to vaccines for the world’s poorest countries is one of the top priorities of the Gates Foundation, and that’s why today we pledged an additional $1 billion to support the lifesaving work of the GAVI Alliance over the next five years. We were joined by many other donors who understand that buying vaccines saves lives, and who know it is an investment worth making, no matter how tight their budgets.

I hope we celebrate this fantastic news by redoubling our efforts to reach the next milestone, and the next, until there is no longer any gap in health care between rich and poor countries.

With the continued generosity of donors and the commitment of developing countries to reach every child, everywhere, the world will reach the point where the circumstances of a child’s birth have nothing to do with whether he or she gets lifesaving vaccines.

Today, the UK Government joined the Gates Foundation and other international partners to support the GAVI Alliance with enough funding to help vaccinate more than 250 million children. This is just one of the promises we made to change the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people and we want to show you how we’re getting on. Find out more at

Please note, this is a guest blog. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of DFID or have the support of the British Government.

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  1. Comment by Jiesheng posted on

    I know saving lives is important. But this must be done for a long term effect or you'll be asking for the same amount of money to vaccinate the same number of people in the same countries years later. Development is about transformational change, not short-term numbers

  2. Comment by David posted on

    Really good point Jiesheng.

  3. Comment by Narendra kumar posted on

    This is a good News !!

    God Bless U !!!!!

  4. Comment by Jeff posted on

    The efforts put forth by the Gates Foundation and it's associates is inspiring .

  5. Comment by satyanarayana posted on

    GATES ur open gate for alll gud deeds.....((((

  6. Comment by Modi Simon posted on

    Dear / Bill Gates
    I'm a young Egyptian revolution
    I would like to extend my invitation to you to visit my
    Where we are now building the largest in the world, said educational
    City D / Zewail, Science and Technology.
    Personally, I respect your work.
    I hope Egypt also has to respect that your presence to it
    I wish you more success
    Sure I will meet you in the near
    Sure you love my country
    sure u like to see theTahrir Square
    Modi Simon

  7. Comment by Sved K. BRISK posted on

    BIll Gates Is all Insperational!! To all in all causes for a better Life worldround. I give my #433Luv2U Good lucks to him & all with him!

  8. Comment by Perpetual posted on

    Thanks 4 having consern about saving lives

  9. Comment by Allie R. posted on

    Bill Gates,
    I'm a middle school student trying to raise money for this kind of idea and need help to get started!!! I want to raise awareness to my community that life over seas to a third world country noted as Africa. It is worse than in the United States. I've tried to explain that they starve and catch diseases easier. I want to help save kids I don't who or need to know, but never the less help! Please help me get more schools and states to help through your organization