Pfizer, together with our global partners, is committed to helping protect the world’s most vulnerable children from pneumococcal disease – a leading cause of infant mortality in low income countries. To help ensure that more children throughout the world have access to our pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) that helps protect against 13 serotypes of the pneumococcal disease bacteria, we partner with different stakeholders to address the access challenges facing children and medical professionals across the globe.
Through our partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a multilateral organization that pools the demand of the poorest countries to help accelerate access by securing affordable prices, we provide PCV13 to 50 Gavi-eligible countries for their national childhood immunization programs. To date, we have shipped over 400 million doses, helping reach 29 million children a year – more than half of the infant population in these countries. The Gavi Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) provides sustainable long-term volumes, which, in turn, allows Pfizer to continue to reduce the price of PCV13 over time as manufacturing efficiencies are achieved, helping to ensure broader access.
Pfizer lowers price for multi-dose vial PCV13 for Gavi-eligible countries
Given the strong ongoing implementation of PCV country programs, Pfizer is lowering the price for the multi-dose vial (MDV) of PCV13 for Gavi-eligible countries from $2.95 to $2.90 per dose in 2019. This represents a nearly 14% reduction in price since the initial introduction of the vaccine into the Gavi Pneumococcal AMC in 2010 and continues to reflect our ongoing commitment to help ensure that Gavi-eligible countries have access to the best price available as volume agreements are achieved.
“Pneumonia remains the single largest cause of death for children worldwide and pneumococcal vaccination is one of our best weapons against it,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “We have worked hard to boost access to this lifesaver in the world’s poorest countries – coverage rates in lower income, Gavi-eligible countries are now approaching the global average. Lower prices, a result of our important partnership with Pfizer, have played a critical role in this effort.”
In addition to Pfizer’s partnership with Gavi, we are committed to enabling broader access to the PCV13 vaccine for humanitarian assistance programs in emergency settings. In November 2016, Pfizer announced that we would offer the MDV at its lowest prevailing price for qualifying humanitarian emergency situations pursuant to WHO criteria. In keeping with that commitment, Pfizer will also now lower the MDV price from $2.95 to $2.90 per dose for humanitarian and refugee assistance programs.
In addition to supporting refugees in emergency situations with vaccine access, the Pfizer Foundation funds nonprofit organizations working to address the refugee crisis. Recently, the Pfizer Foundation announced grants to three humanitarian organizations to support their work with refugees and internally displaced people. The grant recipients include the International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee and World Vision. The grants support activities in acute refugee settings in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, areas that have some of the greatest need.
Breaking Down Barriers to Access
Pfizer knows that strong health systems are key to helping ensure children receive access to vaccines. Therefore, in addition to our ongoing supply partnerships with Gavi, we also fund projects that help strengthen the health system and build the infrastructure required to support the mission to ensure every child, regardless of where they are born, has access to vaccines. We do this in a few ways:
- Health worker training: The work to immunize children around the world requires the efforts of many organizations and people, from those who manufacture the vaccine to those who administer it. The introduction of the 4-dose MDV for PCV13 has enabled improved efficiency for both the transportation and storage of the vaccine in Gavi-eligible countries. With the introduction of the PCV13 MDV, Pfizer supported the development of a training curriculum by the Agence de Medcine Preventive (AMP) with technical consultation from WHO, to provide healthcare workers an overview of pneumococcal disease and a refresher on the proper use and storage of vaccines delivered in multi-dose vials. This Training of Trainers Program provided both training and materials for healthcare workers to strength their capabilities to support routine immunization programs within their country.
“The Training of Trainers (TOT) program, facilitated by AMP with support from Pfizer, assisted in building the capacity of core trainers at our Central and Regional levels. Trainers were carefully selected to represent stakeholders with a vested interest in immunization and child survival,” explained Dawda Sowe, program manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in the Gambia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. “The trainers did a wonderful step-down training at service delivery level, training at least two staff from each facility. It provided our health care workers with updated knowledge in vaccine management, identification/management of adverse events following immunization as well as how to best communicate this information to parents.”
- Improving vaccine coverage rates in hard to reach populations: Another key challenge in increasing vaccine access is following up with children to ensure they are vaccinated and receive all necessary doses. To address this challenge, the Pfizer Foundation is partnering with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Google to validate mReach, a tracing technology that helps healthcare workers identify children who require follow-up regarding immunizations.
During the two year project implementation period in Uganda, a total of 12,949 (74%) out of 17,454 children under the age of one were immunized as result of project activities.
In partnership with the Pfizer Foundation and IRC, Google is helping further expand the use of mReach for the estimated four billion people who do not have a physical address and are difficult to track. Google technology is providing map-able addresses to places that do not have one.
Building on the success of mReach, the partners launched a pilot project in Mogadishu, Somalia aimed at significantly improving the up-take of life-saving vaccinations in an environment, where it is estimated that only 20% of children under the age of one are vaccinated and where one in seven children under five dies from a potentially vaccine preventable disease. During the pilot project period, 4,199 children under one, or 42% of the population in the catchment area, fully vaccinated. Also, as part of this project, health workers were able to identify 5,144 children who had not completed their full immunization series and vaccinated 4,522 of them (88%) as of August 2018. The successful collaboration of the Pfizer Foundation, IRC and Google is showing how such partnerships can breed innovation and deliver positive results to enhance access to life-saving vaccines.
- Last Mile Access: In an effort to reach the hardest to reach communities, often referred to as the ‘last mile’ vaccine delivery areas in Ghana, Pfizer partnered with a coalition of Ghanaian NGOs operating in districts with low immunization rates. These NGOs formed the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health (GCNH) and were selected to carry out various vaccine access programs for a period of twelve months. The vaccination efforts focused on districts in the Volta region which have historically faced low immunization rates due to infrastructure challenges. In the first 6 months of 2018, the coalition conducted 311 fixed vaccination sessions, 674 outreach services, and 160 school vaccination sessions. The team also carried out six health week celebrations.
In 2019 Pfizer is actively working with leading organizations across the globe and throughout the vaccine supply chain to help increase access to vaccines that help protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases.