Children can live longer and more productive lives without vaccines, but not without a good diet.
Today we hear that the British Government is heading a global effort to vaccinate a four million children by 2015.
Will this save the lives of children in the developing world?
The vaccinated children – whose fate seems to be more important than that of their struggling but less photogenic parents – might not die of the five diseases against which a multiple vaccine has been developed, but if they have a poor diet they will die early of some other condition, because poorly nourished children and adults have little resistance to life-threatening health conditions.
Why are efforts not directed towards best practice: ensuring a good diet and clean water for all?
The usual reason – it is less profitable?
Conspiracy theory? Look at the indicators:
Partners of the prime mover Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation [GAVI] include the World Bank, the financial community, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, research and technical institutes;
GAVI partners GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer Inc. are the first two companies to make long-term commitments to supply new vaccines for the Pneumo AMC – featured prominently on DFID’s website. They are committed to supply 30 million doses each per year, for a 10 year period;
GAVI aims to accelerate access to existing underused vaccines;
GAVI aims to introduce innovative immunisation technology, including vaccines;
And to assess the potential profit: GAVI-eligible countries have been grouped according to their expected ability to pay
Defaulting donors beware – there will be 10-20 year, legally-binding aid commitments.
GAVI has pioneered the concept of an International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), which was proposed to the Group of Seven (G7) countries by the UK government in 2005. IFFIm will issue bonds in the capital markets and convert long-term government pledges into immediately available cash resources. The long-term government pledges will be used to repay the IFFIm bonds. The World Bank is its financial adviser and treasury manager.
In partnership with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, the government is co-hosting a vaccine summit today: Monday 13 June, calling on international partners to join the UK and donate to its cause. Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who is chairing the event, said: “For the price of a cup of coffee you can vaccinate a child against five of the major childhood killers”.
Video: watch the press conference live on 13 June