Pakistan introduces GSK pneumonia vaccine
LONDON (REUTERS) - Pakistan has become the first country in South Asia to introduce a vaccine against the deadly pneumococcal disease in children, with GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Synflorix selected for the programme.
Worldwide more than 1.3 million children under the age of five are killed each year by pneumonia and in Pakistan it accounts for almost 20 per cent of child deaths, according to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).
The move comes at a time when healthcare experts are still struggling to get polio vaccination accepted in parts of Pakistan, one of the few countries where it is still endemic.
The introduction of Synflorix in Pakistan, which began on Tuesday, is possible thanks to GAVI's advanced market commitment scheme, which provides incentives for drug companies to produce large quantities of vaccines for poor countries at low cost.