GAVI to roll out HPV vaccines in 2013

HPV vaccine. GAVI Alliance is targeting to include providing HPV vaccines in its programs, beginning next year. Photo by: Art Writ / VCU CNS / CC BY-NC

GAVI Alliance is targeting to include providing vaccines against the leading cause of cervical cancer in its programs, beginning next year.

The public-private global health partnership planned to support human papillomavirus vaccines in 2008, but had to shelve the project due to funding constraints, according to a fact sheet. The successful pledging conference in 2011, however, provided the opportunity for GAVI to open its “funding window” for the vaccine.

“The demand for HPV vaccines has exceeded expectations and we are looking forward to supporting developing countries in introducing these vaccines to protect adolescent girls against cervical cancer,” GAVI CEO Seth Berkley said in a press release.

Approximately 275,000 women die from cervical cancer each year.

There are currently two vaccines available against HPV. GAVI will be working with “several developing countries” to prepare for the vaccines’ roll out in early 2013. The majority of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is not yet known which of them will be the first to receive support for HPV vaccines. GAVI aims to immunize about 1 million girls aged 9 to 13 years old by 2015.

GAVI will announce the price for the vaccines in 2013; so far, there has been one manufacturer offering an indicative price of $5 per dose, the fact sheet says. This is significantly lower than the general retail price of $130 per dose.

The announcement was made at the three-day GAVI Partners’ Forum in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where Berkley also gave a preview of the direction GAVI will be taking in coming years. That includes tapping technology to boost efficiency in the supply chain.

“Why is it that we are not looking at vaccine stock using GPS, so a flashing red light on an interactive map tells us immediately there is a stock problem in a local health clinic?” he asked in a speech Thursday (Dec. 6).

Berkley also noted inconsistencies in immunization data.

“Our numbers really aren’t very tight. We’re shooting in the dark against a target, because we don’t have the tools to really allow us to understand what is happening,” he said. “This is a critical goal going forward.”

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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.

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