17 Jun A shot in the arm
GLOBAL-HEALTH experts are often a glum lot, but a few billion dollars should be enough to perk anybody up. Over the past decade the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), founded with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has become the world’s main advocate of immunisation. Last year Mr Gates announced a new “decade of vaccines”. But it seemed unclear whether the vast sums needed to pay for it would really be available; GAVI said it needed $3.7 billion between now and 2015 for new vaccines, mainly to prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea, the biggest killers of young children. On June 13th, at a conference in London, the group got its wish, and more, with donors pledging $4.3 billion to help immunise 250m children.