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Donors Pledge $4 Billion for Global Vaccination

Large-hearted donors have pledged to contribute greater than $4 billion to enable vaccination of millions of children against diseases like yellow fever, pneumonia and measles. The UK government has promised $1.3 billion up till 2015.

Australia will give $211 million, while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged greater than $1 billion. All the proceeds will go to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).

GAVI comprises of many organizations including vaccine makers, UNICEF, WHO and the Gates Foundation. It carries out vaccinations in many poor countries. Every year around two million children die from diseases that can be prevented with timely vaccination.

The money will be spent to vaccinate greater than 250 million kids. Health officials hope to save around four million lives in the process. Bill Gates says GAVI’s efforts will ensure that children in poor countries receive the same shots against pneumonia and diarrhea as kids in richer countries.

But, critics point out that vaccine makers who are also part of GAVI make a killing from manufacturing vaccines. In 2008, Pfizer made a profit of about $3 billion from certain vaccines. There are also allegations that some poor countries inflate vaccination figures to claim more money. Some health experts say health systems in certain developing countries are so poor that the vaccines may just end up idling in warehouses.

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