Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Financial Crisis Blamed for Cutbacks in Vaccination

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Financial Crisis Blamed for Cutbacks in Vaccination

Article excerpt

Countries hit by the global financial crisis are having to cut back on children's vaccinations or delay plans for introducing newer vaccines, according to the Children's Vaccine Initiative (CVI). Indeed, financial problems and civil instability are threatening to wipe out the last decade's gains in vaccination and expose large numbers of children to diseases that could be prevented, CVI claims.

CVI is a worldwide coalition of organizations from the public and private sectors, including the vaccine industry, that was set up in 1990 to ensure that children everywhere get vaccines to protect them against life-threatening infections. The initiative announced recently that some developing countries have had to curtail or postpone plans for expanding vaccination because of reduced financial resources. At the same time, CVI says, instability in Albania has been accompanied by an outbreak of poliomyelitis there -- the first in 18 years -- and some countries of the former Soviet Union have experienced epidemics of diphtheria.

CVI claims that the traditional paediatric vaccines -- against tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, diphtheria, measles, tetanus and pertussis -- are reaching 80% of the world's children today, compared with just 5% only 25 years ago. These vaccines now save the lives of 3 million children each year, as well as preventing huge amounts of disability and suffering, CVI says. Nevertheless, at the meeting of CVI's global Consultative Group last November, some participants reported difficulties or delays in getting enough vaccines because of government budget cuts. In some countries budgets set for vaccines priced in foreign currency can no longer be met. …

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