How to avert 1.63 million child deaths

How to avert 1.63 million child deaths

Launch of the Every Breath Counts Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) Scorecard 

21 September 2022

PCV introduction in India, JSI, 2021

The deaths of 1.63 million children under five could be prevented by 2030 with one of the most powerful pneumonia-fighting vaccines – the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV).

In a scorecard released today, Every Breath Counts ranks the 40 countries that are home to 1.5 million (94 per cent) of the 1.63 million child lives that could be saved with PCV coverage by 2030, according to the Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC). 

  • 20 countries account for the most (70 per cent) child lives that can be saved with the PCV by 2030, with Nigeria and India topping the list.
  • 12 countries are fragile and conflict-affected including two yet to introduce the PCV (Chad and Somalia) and eight with PCV coverage below 80 per cent (e.g., Nigeria, DRCongo and Ethiopia).
  • 16 countries are experiencing a catastrophic hunger crisis with millions of children at risk of wasting and vulnerable to infectious diseases – these include countries yet to introduce the PCV like Somalia and South Sudan.
  • 80 per cent of the countries are eligible for financial assistance to introduce the PCV from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi).

Every Breath Counts is calling on all 40 governments to protect at least 90 per cent of their children with PCV by 2030, starting with the children at greatest risk of death due to malnutrition and other risks. 

Integrated package

Where governments are fragile and/or conflict- affected, international vaccine and humanitarian agencies must join forces to protect children with PCV vaccines alongside services to diagnose and treat child wasting and other vital medicines.

PCV innovation

Governments should begin to explore access to next-generation PCVs that offer more protection at reasonable prices. 

High stakes  

High and sustained PCV coverage delivers huge benefits:

  • Reductions in child pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis deaths, accelerating achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3.2; 
  • Reductions in catastrophic health care costs for families required to pay the high costs of child pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis hospitalization; and
  • Reductions in antimicrobial resistance as higher PCV vaccination means lower demand for antibiotics to treat pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.

The time for governments and international health and development agencies to act is NOW.

See the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) scorecard