By Eteena Tadjiogueu

Exciting news out of the first GAVI Alliance (GAVI) pledging conference in London yesterday where partners have pledged $4.3 billion dollars to immunize more than 250 million children and prevent more than four million premature deaths by 2015. The $4.3 billion pledged exceeds GAVI’s $3.7 billion target with the United States itself committing $450 million over three years pending approval from Congress.

The GAVI Alliance organized yesterday's pledging conference to raise funds to scale-up immunization programs and introduce newer vaccines for pneumococcal disease and rotavirus. Last week, vaccine manufacturers contributed to the cause by pledging to reduce the cost of several life-saving vaccines including those against human papillomavirus and rotavirus.

Sabin Executive Vice President Dr. Ciro de Quadros stated: “I commend the many governments, individuals and organizations who contributed to GAVI’s pledging conference. Vaccines are a critical key to reducing needless deaths and improving the livelihood of hundreds of millions around the world.”