This week in Berlin, Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, an organization which improves access to new and underused vaccines for children, brought together world leaders and stakeholders to welcome new commitments towards its mission to immunize children in developing countries. I am proud to say that Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, were a part of this group which pledged a total of US$7.5 billion, which will enable countries to immunize an additional 300 million children.
I would personally like to congratulate the world community and Gavi on this renewed commitment and pledge which is expected to help save an estimated five to six million lives by 2020. In the 15 years since the international organization Gavi was founded, half a billion children have already received lifesaving vaccines through their work.
As a parent myself, I believe the dramatic decline in preventable child deaths during the past 25 years is one of humankind’s greatest achievements. Deadly and debilitating diseases are entirely preventable through immunization and by investing in vaccines, we can do far more than protect health; we can also protect people’s incomes and savings, and promote economic growth.
Despite this accomplishment, we must remain committed to reducing child mortality. Johnson & Johnson has a deep commitment and long heritage in supporting children’s health so while attending the Gavi meeting we also pledged to make the vaccine QUINVAXEM® available at Gavi prices tograduating countries (who have passed the eligibility threshold). In order to protect as many children as possible, we believe it is our duty to ensure this vaccine remains as affordable as possible. This combination “five-in-one” vaccine is key to protecting children from diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) which causes pneumonia and meningitis.
By working with Gavi and our other partners to improve global health, we are doing our best to ensure that every child, around the world, receives the vaccines they need to grow up and develop to their full potential.