Kenya starts new vaccine campaign against pneumonia

Kenya starts new vaccine campaign against pneumonia

Katy Migiro, Science Magazine

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A new vaccine to protect against pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under five, was launched in Kenya on Monday, one of 19 developing countries which will introduce the vaccine this year. Pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis, kills more than half a million people a year, half of them children under five, according to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) which launched the campaign.

“Today’s launch signifies a giant step toward the control, and possible eventual elimination, of pneumonia from the face of the earth,” said Kenya’s Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo at the launch.

GAVI say it hopes to avert 700,000 deaths by 2015 through the Immunization of 90 million children with pneumococcal vaccines, but the alliance is also facing a $3.9 billion shortfall in funds needed to run its Immunization projects up until 2015.

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