GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced the incorporation of its pneumococcal vaccine into the Kenyan national immunisation programme. Kenya is the first African country to receive pneumococcal vaccines through the innovative financing mechanism known as the Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is designed to bring heavily discounted vaccines to children living in the world’s poorest countries. At a commemoration ceremony to be held in the capital city of Nairobi on 14 February, government officials will be joined by representatives of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and GSK, to launch the programme. Consequently, millions of children will be vaccinated and protected against pneumococcal disease, which is the world’s leading killer of children under five years of age.
GSK’s Synflorix™ is the first vaccine to be rolled out in Africa under the AMC framework and provides protection against 10 strains of the pneumococcus bacteria that are responsible for the large majority of pneumococcal disease in Kenya and worldwide. Sierra Leone is also introducing pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC in Africa, and Yemen is doing the same in the Middle East. Certain countries in Latin America are also eligible to receive pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC. Nicaragua began vaccinating children in late 2010 and Guyana is introducing vaccines this year. In total, GAVI anticipates that more than 40 developing countries will receive pneumococcal vaccines through the AMC by 2015.