Doing nothing leaves up to 1 million children to die each year from a vaccine-preventable disease
More children die each year from pneumonia than from any other infectious disease – even more than from malaria or AIDS – according to the World Health Organization. And a majority of these deaths occur in developing countries. A bacterium, Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus), is the leading cause of severe pneumonia in children. Currently the WHO estimates that pneumococcal diseases are responsible for between 800,000 and 1 million child deaths each year.
New, lifesaving pneumococcal vaccines are now available. They are safe and highly effective in preventing pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia and meningitis. However, without a coordinated effort by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)’s PneumoADIP it is likely to take 20 years or more for these vaccines to reach even one quarter of children in the world’s developing countries. This will require resources and sustained international commitment. But this effort pales in comparison to doing nothing – leaving up to 1 million children to die each year from a vaccine-preventable disease.