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Millions of children across Indonesia will now be protected from pneumococcal disease, the leading cause of pneumonia, through the nationwide launch of a life-saving vaccine. 

Thanks to leading vaccine organization Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will be included in Indonesia’s national routine immunization program, where it is expected to protect 4 million children and help prevent around 10,000 deaths each year. 

Suharso Monoarfa, Indonesia’s minister for national development planning, said the introduction of the vaccine is only possible because of Gavi’s special pneumonia financing system, known as the advance market commitment (AMC).

The system allows pneumonia vaccines to reach developing countries at the same time as developed nations. 

"It gives me great pleasure today to announce that the government of Indonesia is committed in proceeding with the special mechanism for PCV procurement through the Gavi AMC,” Monoarfa said during his keynote address at the Barcelona Pneumonia Forum. “We appreciate the support of Gavi, UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in helping to make this happen."

Because of the AMC, Indonesia can now access the vaccine at a quarter of its earlier price. 

Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in children in Indonesia.  

Each year, the nation records 500,000 cases of pneumonia and close to 10,000 deaths. 

Although pneumonia causes 15% of deaths in children under the age of 5 worldwide, research into the illness has long been under-funded. According to humanitarian organization UNICEF, just 3% of research into modern global infectious diseases is dedicated to pneumonia. 

However, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley says strong global progress against the disease has been made over the past 10 years.

"Gavi’s ultimate goal is to ensure children in the developing world have the same access to lifesaving vaccines as children in the West,” he said in a media release. “Our work with pneumococcal vaccine shows how successful this effort has been — 60 countries have so far introduced this relatively new vaccine with support from the AMC, protecting over 183 million children against this deadly disease, and coverage in Gavi-supported countries is now higher than the global average.”

Alongside private and corporate partners, Gavi is supported by donor governments, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, India, the United States, and the United Kingdom. 

Gavi is currently in the process of asking for new funding, because, with enough support, it predicts it could vaccinate another 300 million children globally against a range of diseases over the next four years — saving around 8 million lives. If the organisation is to reach its goal, it urgently needs another USD $7.4 billion. 

A replenishment pledging conference will be held in June 2020 in the United Kingdom.


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Indonesia Launches Nationwide Vaccination Program Against Pneumonia

By Madeleine Keck