Pfizer Cuts Cost of Pneumonia Vaccine for Humanitarian Crises

By Sola Ogundipe

In what has been described as a major expansion of its humanitarian assistance work, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, has said its pneumococcal vaccine, Prevenar 13,  which protects babies and children against pneumonia and other diseases, would be offered in a new multi-dose vial at the lowest prevailing global price, currently $3.10 per dose. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads

The announcement which came on the eve of this year’s World Pneumonia day, November 12, said the vaccine will be offered at the lowest possible price to non-governmental organizations seeking to protect vulnerable people from illness in humanitarian crises.


In a statement, the company noted that  given the acute need for aid on the ground, all sales proceeds for the first year of the programme would be donated to humanitarian groups undertaking the difficult work of reaching vulnerable populations in emergency settings. This move follows a similar one recently by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, which offered to cut the price of its own pneumococcal vaccine, Synflorix, to $3.05 when it is used in humanitarian crises.

Emergency vaccine supply

The World Health Organization is seeking to establish an emergency vaccine supply system aimed at getting vital shots to vulnerable people in crises such as wars or natural disasters.

Pneumonia is a severe infection that affects lungs making it difficult to absorp oxygen. It affects people of all ages and income groups and is one of the top five causes of death  among children under 5 years of age, and responsible for 16 per cent of all deaths in this age group.

The disease is the number one killer of children under 5 years of age globally. In Nigeria it is one of the top three killers of children, and the country has the highest burden in Africa and second highest overall in the world.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Common causes of the fatal pneumonia are pneumococcus and Haemophilus influenza type b (HIB).

Despite advances in treatment, there are indications that pneumonia could become a bigger problem in the future.

The goal of World Pneumonia Day is to raise awareness of the problem and bring together people to find better ways to handle, diagnose, and treat pneumonia.

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