In June, the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) released its first decennial report on the progress it's made toward getting vaccines for children in Third World countries. Since its start-up a decade ago, GAVI's vaccines have gone to 250 million children in developing nations.
In those 10 years, major industrialized countries, along with the World Health Organization, the World Bank, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other agencies such as the US National Institutes of Health, have given GAVI nearly $4.5 billion.
But it's not enough, GAVI says. To continue its work, GAVI wants a total of $7 billion by 2015, with $2.4 billion going toward vaccines for pneumococcal disease and $750 million for rotavirus.
Around 80 percent of GAVI cash comes from a handful of governmental donors – the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the US, Norway, Canada, and the Netherlands through direct contributions, support of an international finance fund, and something called Advance Market Commitments (AMCs).
With AMCs, donors give vaccine makers a guaranteed market and price for their products; in return, drug makers promise to sell the vaccines at low-ball prices to poor countries.
The pneumococcal vaccine is the first to be financed under an AMC. Also on the slate as AMCs are rotavirus, tuberculosis, and malaria. The HPV vaccine is on the list too.
The AMC vaccines target diseases that are severe killers in Third World countries, but not in developed nations. But so far, it's children in developed nations who are being pushed first in line to get them -- all in order to pay for those who actually may need them, in Third World Nations.