In this post in PBS NewsHour's blog "The Rundown," senior correspondent Ray Suarez reports on his time in Nicaragua with the NewsHour's global health unit for the national rollout of a pneumococcal pneumonia immunization campaign. The vaccine cost $100 per dose when it came to market in the last several years, Suarez notes, writing, "At that price, Nicaragua certainly couldn't pay to vaccinate all its children. The GAVI Alliance, formed as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, worked to find a way to close that yawning gap between great danger to children and a life-saving medicine, between deep poverty in Nicaragua and Pfizer's high costs."
"The organization pools private and government donor dollars, and wins long-term commitments from recipient countries to acquire and deliver the vaccine," he continues, adding, "By doing this, GAVI gives business a predictable outcome for sales of a vaccine, something it might not otherwise have. Recipient governments, like Nicaragua, get massive discounts in return for their long-term assurances of a market. In the case of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, the price moved from roughly $100 to $3.75 cents." (10/26).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.