GAVI to Introduce HPV, Rubella Vaccines in Developing Countries

The Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization has taken another step in moving closer to achieve its goal of preventing close to 4 million future deaths by 2015 when it announced Thursday (Nov. 17) its plans to introduce HPV vaccines in developing countries.

About 275,000 cervical cancer deaths due to HPV occur each year, of which 88 percent come from developing countries. If GAVI’s plans push through, up to 2 million girls and women from nine countries would be protected from the deadly virus.

“The HPV vaccine is critical to women and girls in poorer countries because they usually do not have access to screening to prevent cervical cancer and treatment taken for granted in richer nations. Today, we have taken deliberate first steps to correct this inequity,” GAVICEO Seth Berkley said.

The initiative, however, depends on the success of price negotiations with manufacturers and the ability of governments to deliver the vaccines effectively.

Apart from the HPV vaccine, GAVI agreed to a “funding window” for vaccines against the rubella virus, which can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths and serious congenital defects. The vaccine will be a combined rubella-measles vaccine in support of the global Measles Initiative led by the American Red Cross, the U.N. Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.